Saturday, February 28, 2015


Johnny Harris at the House of St Barnabas, London.

“I am who I am. And without my past I don’t think I’d be the actor that I am; I don’t think I’d have the same references. Sometimes,” he says, “I think this is how it was meant to be.” 

We know him as the lovable caring dwarf and son who sings in Snow White and the Huntsman; however, Johnny Harris hasn't played such kind characters throughout his career.  The one which won him his BAFTA was as vile as any character could be. 

To be able to play such a range of characters didn't come easy to Harris. In a Guardian interview, Harris poignantly talks about his his humble journey into acting which included a stint as a boxer, a bout with depression, alcohol and homelessness. 

Most people have a delusional belief that actors come from high society, private schools and rich parents. But what you find is that they are just like us. Working folks going through life ups and downs just trying to make it but instead of driving a bus or becoming a doctor, they want to be actors.  

Harris believed, as most actors do, once you get that one part, you're a star.  But sometimes it doesn't work out that way. 

"In 2000, Harris did secure his first major screen job – the film Gangster No 1. “It was massively exciting. They flew me first class to Berlin and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m a movie star! I’ve cracked it!’” When this turned out not to be the case, he sunk into a depression. He finds it hard to pinpoint when he became an alcoholic, but for 10 to 15 years, he was “just keeping a face on things”."

Things went downhill from there. His friend who worked with Harris in Gangster No. 1 and who would later star with him in a blockbuster film called Snow White and the Huntsman, Eddie Marsan, gave Harris some help during this troubling time. 

"Helping out a friend in need, fellow actor Eddie Marsan, who he had worked with on Gangster No. 1, introduced him to the Union Theatre in Southwark. “He was directing a play there,” remembers Harris, “and I was really skint at the time, so I think he got me to paint the set.”  

Harris distance himself from both family and friends over a period of four years and became homeless under his own will. He slept on streets although he knew he had places to go.  It was a low time in his life where he turned to alcohol. 

"Eventually, Harris got help. “2004 was my lowest point,” he says now. In 2006, completely clean, he completed his first major role sober, in London to Brighton. Around the same time he met his wife, an adoption worker based in an office next door to the Union Theatre. This year, he celebrates his 10th anniversary of sobriety." 


Harris and his acting career took off.  Today Harris has played many characters and most who are not known for their charm. 

"His ability to play sociopaths on screen seems a true talent; in real life, Harris is relentlessly cheery, gentlemanly, charming."

The notable item which the characters have in common is a beard. It may seem funny, but the Harris beard has had an effect on a few of his fans who were initially introduced to Harris through the heinous character in 'This is England '86'. 

"It has been four years since Harris enacted one of the most harrowing scenes I’ve seen on television. Even now, when he wears a beard, he understands that people are still reminded of Mick, the serial sex offender he played in Shane Meadows’s This Is England ’86. His horrific raping of Trev at the end of the acclaimed first series landed Harris a Bafta nomination, but perhaps more importantly for him, it also saw viewers take to Twitter to share their feelings of grief, horror and shock: “I guess for me, that was the real gauge of whether I’d done the role justice. I remember one person saying that when they watched they could hardly breathe.”"

His beard has become a true signature through many characters.

From left: Harris in the television series 'The Fades', Snow White and the Huntsman
and currently in the television series 'Fortitude'.

"These days, the beard is becoming a frequent feature of his work, the common denominator in a wardrobe of characters that are all damaged in some way: his gangster in Welcome to the Punch; a man living on the edge in Jack Thorne’s BBC horror The Fades and now the quietly menacing Ronnie in Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude. Beard Fear, we agree, shows no signs of abating." 


Beard or no beard fans have nothing to fear. The real gentle and kindhearted man is far cry from the troubled characters onscreen.

Johnny Harris has become who he is because of his life experiences. What he has gone through has made him the great actor he is today. Life will do that.

“I am who I am. And without my past I don’t think I’d be the actor that I am; I don’t think I’d have the same references. Sometimes,” he says, “I think this is how it was meant to be.”

Read the interview in its entirety here and check out Johnny Harris every Thursday night on 'Fortitude' on Sky Atlantic (UK) and Pivot TV (US).

Johnny Harris.

Photos: The Guardian
Google images

Friday, February 27, 2015


Stewart has officially come off her self-imposed break by signing on to join Oscar nominees Laura Dern (Wild/Jurassic Park) and Michelle Williams (Oz the Great and Powerful) in an untitled drama written and directed by Kelly Reichardt, according to Deadline.

"Reichardt most recently directed 'Night Moves' with Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning." (Variety)

Stewart will play a lawyer from Boise, Idaho who tries to prove herself as a teacher. She develops a friendship with Jamie who is auditing her class. 

Others cast are Jared Harris (Mad Men), James Le Gros Enemy of the State) and new comer Sara Rodier.

The filming will take place in the midwest Big Sky country. 

Laura Dern will not be the first time Stewart has been with a Dern onscreen.  Stewart starred with her Oscar nominated father Bruce Dern in 2007's 'The Cake Eaters'. 

Bruce spoke highly of the young Stewart at the time where he praised her talent calling her a "one of a kinder."  Check out what he says in the video below.

Photo: Google images



View image on Twitter

Here is the Thor character poster of Chris Hemsworth in Marvel's upcoming release 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'. Check out more posters here.

'Age of Ultron' will be released on May 1st. 



There have been lots of opinions about the unceremonious removal of Snow White from what should have been the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, but Forbes' Scott Mendelson has taken it to another level.  He is calling for a box office smack down by placing Stewart in another franchise and scheduling the film up against 'The Huntsman'. 

Instead of summarizing what he said, here it is in his own words:

"In yet another case of a seemingly inevitable reboot, MGM and Warner Bros. are teaming up to revive the Tomb Raider franchise. The Deadline story reports what should have been predicted, that the new franchise will focus on a “younger” Lara Croft and Angelina Jolie has better things to do than try to make her own variation on Never Say Never Again. Obviously the various executives involved are hoping for something akin to Hunger Games meets Indiana Jones meets (depending on the reliance on sci-fi gadgets) Alias. Considering how few female-centric action vehicles get made in Hollywood, I imagine every actress between the ages of 14 and 32 are going to be going for this. Offhand, aside from Gugu Mbatha-Raw getting her own high profile action franchise (if Gina Prince-Bythewood wants to direct, more power to her), I’d love to see Warner cast Kristen Stewart as the new Lara Croft, schedule the film right on top of The Huntsman and (all due respect to all parties) watch Stewart’s feverish fanbase smack the box office tar out of the “Snow White sequel sans Snow White” picture. But in all seriousness, there is something a little sad about the notion of a second Tomb Raider franchise still qualifying as a big deal purely because of the sheer lack of big-scale female-centric franchises. It would seem that the only way we’re getting more diverse franchises is by virtue of Hollywood rebooting the (comparatively) more diverse franchises of yesteryear."

Mendelson continues:

"Clickbait headlines aside, I am not kidding about Kristen Stewart theoretically playing Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider film. The woman has been on a critical roll lately (Camp X-Ray, Still Alice, and Clouds of Sils Maria, for which she just became the first American actress to win a Ca esar award) and I still think she is a huge reason why Snow White and the Huntsman opened to $55 million in the summer of 2012. I am not sure if she can pull off the character, but frankly I kinda like not knowing (it’s why I would prefer a new Indiana Jones a little less predictable than the obviously capable Chris Pratt). Emily Blunt could do it in her sleep and Gugu Mbatha-Raw would be the outside-the-box “Take this movie seriously!” pick (that both are actually British helps), but in terms of box office clout, an automatic fan base, and a deluge of constant free media coverage, well, I think Ms. Stewart getting another high-profile action franchise would be karmic payback for being preemptively removed from the Snow White franchise that she birthed in the first place."

You have to hand it to Mendelson for saying out loud what others have been saying quietly. 

But seriously, would Stewart's fans like to see her in a rebooted Lara Croft franchise or rather heating up the screen in a Marvel/DC film? Probably the latter. 

There is no need to throw fuel on the fire by placing any film of hers up against 'The Huntsman'.  It would only make the entertainment and gossip sites happy to relish in making money off the competition. And quite frankly, anything she does should stand solely on its own and succeed without any connection to 'The Huntsman'. 

You have to admit, for any studio to do it would be pretty ballsy.  

Read Mendelson's "Kristen Stewart As Lara Croft And More 'Tomb Raider' Thoughts" in it's entirety here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Marvel's latest poster for the Avengers sequel 'Age of Ultron' was released today. Chris Hemsworth's Thor and his molinar are prominently placed in the picture. 

Yesterday it was announced that SWATH's Nick Frost will be reprising his role as Nion joining Hemsworth in the Snow White and the Huntsman pre-quel 'The Huntsman'.  Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt will be joining the cast alongside Charlize Theron as well. 

'Age of Ultron' will be released on May 1. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Deadline reports Nick Frost will be the only dwarf to reprise his role in Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman prequel, 'The Huntsman'. Frost will return as Nion.

Frost rejoins Chris Hemsworth as the huntsman and Charlize Theron as Queen Ravenna with SWATH's Visual Effects guru Cedric Nicolas-Troyan who will direct after the controversial departure of Frank Darabont. The first-time director received an Oscar nomination for his work on SWATH's VFX. This will most likely guarantee continuity between the two films. 

Also returning will be Joe Roth as producer and Palak Patel who will executive produce, according to Deadline.

Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Emily Blunt (Into the Woods) joined the cast. Blunt is reported to play a villain. No word on Chastain's role. 

'The Huntsman' is set to be released April 22, 2016.


French Academy

The French Academy revealed the official winner portraits for the Cesar award.  Kristen Stewart who made history being the first American actress to win the prestigious French Oscar shows humorous disbelief in one of her photos (see below).

Stewart won Best Supporting Actress for her role in 'Clouds of Sils Maria' playing the assistant for the aging actresses played by Juliette Binoche. 

The US will finally be able to see 'Sils Maria' this April 10th. 

Read more about Stewart's historic win here

Friday, February 20, 2015


Embedded image permalink

Stewart now stands among firsts. The first man to walk on the moon. The first to discover how to turn straw into bricks. The first person to win a Jeopardy championship. Whatever the first is...she will always be the first at what she achieved tonight in film history. 

There will be time to sit back and eat up every interview and every photo taken at every angle to celebrate what was witnessed in that audience, on television or online. But for now there is a need to reflect on what happened. 

History was made tonight. Film history, American history, world history...history was made. 

It is not easy to get the prestigious Cesar Award which is France's equivalent to the American Oscar.  If it was, she wouldn't be the first. Kristen Stewart made history twice by not only being the first American actress in 30 years to receive a nomination, but the first to win it. 

The first....

More after the break

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


New 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Trailer

There was a pure domination (excuse the pun) at the box office this holiday weekend by Universal Pictures 'Fifty Shades of Grey' grabbing a whopping estimated $266.4 million worldwide for a film marketed as a romance with some kink just in time for Valentine's Day.  

'Fifty Shades of Grey' is shining a better light on Universal's bottom line which was drowning in red ink since the beginning of 2015 with huge box office busts. More on that later. 

FSOG scored huge numbers domestically with a staggering $94.4 million over the four-day President's Day weekend.  Early projections were at $60 million which FSOG blew past with ease. The previous high was set in 2010 by 'Valentine's Day' at a mere $63.1 million.

'Fifty Shades of Grey' ruled the international box office in spite of protests, critical reviews and a moderate audience score (because they wanted more sex scenes) with it debuting at #1 in 58 foreign markets earning close to a "stunning" $160 million which is the best opening ever for an R-rated film in those markets, according Box Office Mojo.

"That's the second-biggest weekend ever for Universal Pictures International (behind Fast & Furious 6), and included their biggest single day ever (Valentine's Day at $55.1 million). The movie set opening weekend records in 11 markets, including Italy ($9.1 million), Argentina and Poland. It also set a record for Universal Pictures in the U.K. ($21.1 million), France ($12 million), Russia ($10.5 million) and Brazil ($8.9 million). Other key markets include Germany ($15.2 million), Australia ($8.6 million), Mexico ($8.1 million) and Spain ($7.9 million)."

FSOG began its record breaking odyssey with Fandango reporting it to be the fastest selling R-rated film in its history.  Record sales continued through the weekend when it beat out 2012's The Hunger Games after "it sold 29% of the opening weekend tickets for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” marking the largest share of receipts for any movie released in its 15-year history. That number does not take into account the Monday holiday," according to Variety.

Universal's year started with the highly anticipated Chris Hemsworth-Michael Mann computer hacker action thriller 'Blackhat' which crashed hard bringing in almost $17 million worldwide on a $70 million production budget, according to Box Office Mojo. It barely made $2 million on its opening day.  

'Blackhat' was followed up with another weak showing with the Jeff Bridges film, 'Seventh Son' making $97 million worldwide with a budget of $95 million. 

Universal did see black with the modest Jennifer Lopez hit thriller 'The Boy Next Door' which made $36 million on a $4 million budget.

Regardless what the critics say, FSOG outdid all expectations. The film is clearly critic proof.  Although the naysayers were projecting a huge box office drop off for next weekend before before Saturday, it doesn't matter because Universal already won big. 

Fans are looking forward to the second installment named Fifty Shades Darker which its theatrical title will most likely take on a different variation when released. 

Universal has two more potential blockbusters and a hit film with the upcoming releases of Ted 2, Jurassic World and Pitch Perfect 2

FSOG is in theaters now. 

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