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Director Larry Fessenden talks about his monster-fish movie 'Beneath' and its 'black humor'

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In the new monster movie Beneath, a group of boat-trapped teens are menaced by a giant fish — although, as things go from bad to worse to whatever-comes-after-worse, it becomes clear the real monsters are the kids themselves rather than their piscine predator.

“That’s the point of the film!” laughs Beneath director Larry Fessenden, whose previous credits include 2001′s Wendigo and 2006′s The Last Winter. “That’s a little bit about my obsession that people have been parenting wrong. I tried to show some compassion for the characters, but they’re all just in for themselves and it leads to a bad end. The fish is just doing what he does!”

Starring Daniel Zovatto, Bonnie Dennison, and Mark Margolis (a.k.a. Tio Salamanca from Breaking Bad), Beneath is now playing in select cinemas (including New York’s IFC Center) and is available on VOD. The movie will be screened on Chiller TV this fall.

Larry Fessenden talks much more about Beneath below.
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'Ender's Game' author Orson Scott Card responds to critics: The gay marriage issue is 'moot' -- EXCLUSIVE

Responding to reports of a nascent boycott against the upcoming movie version of his beloved 1985 sci-fi novel Ender’s Game because of his stated opposition to same-sex marriage, author Orson Scott Card has released a statement exclusively to EW. He declares the gay-marriage issue “moot” due to last month’s Supreme Court rulings. He also makes a plea for gay-marriage supporters to “show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.” His full statement is below.

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot.  The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

Orson Scott Card

The best-selling author has come under fire in some quarters for his stance on same-sex marriage. In 2009, he joined the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex unions. That year, he also wrote a piece in Mormon Times that railed against “dictator-judges” and argued, “Married people attempting to raise children with the hope that they, in turn, will be reproductively successful, have every reason to oppose the normalization of homosexual unions.”

Those views have prompted a backlash. In March, artist Christopher Sprouse backed out of plans to work on a Card-penned Adventures of Superman comic book for DC Comics. More recently, a small online group called Geeks OUT announced plans to boycott Summit’s upcoming $110 million Ender’s Game movie because of Card’s anti-gay-marriage views. “Hopefully, it will send a message that people who are actively vocal against the LGBT community don’t really have a place within the greater geek culture,” says Geeks OUT board member Patrick Yacco.

Steven Spielberg eyes 'Grapes of Wrath'

Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks are in early discussions to acquire the rights to John Steinbeck’s classic Depression-era novel, The Grapes of Wrath. A representative for Spielberg confirmed a Deadline report that the Oscar-winning director of Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan is interested in the project, but only in a producer capacity. He would not direct. The novel was famously adapted by John Ford in 1940, with Henry Fonda starring as Tom Joad, the ex-con who tries to help his poor family as they flee the Dust Bowl for a better life in California. READ FULL STORY

'Choose Your Own Adventure' film in the works

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If you turn to the right page, Choose Your Own Adventure is one step closer to the big screen: 20th Century Fox is close to a deal to acquire the rights to the popular book franchise, EW has confirmed. (The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.)

The interactive series, which published over 180 titles between 1979 and 1999, tells adventure stories from a second-person point of view, letting the reader dictate how the story ends. The CYOA website boasts that the series has been “widely commended for its appeal to reluctant readers.” How will it fare with reluctant moviegoers? Only time will tell. It is also not clear yet how the concept of the books will be translated to film.
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'Much Ado About Nothing': Choosing Joss Whedon's next literary muse

Back in 2011, between shooting and editing The Avengers, Joss Whedon was supposed to take his wife, producer Kai Cole, on a dream Italian vacation to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Sensing an oncoming crisis of faith in filmmaking — perhaps one reason they’ve been able to achieve 20 years of marriage in an industry that seemingly grinds up and spits out unions just for kicks — she had another idea.

She suggested he finally shoot his dream project, a new black-and-white contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing using the original text with his friends/constant collaborators like Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker and set in his Santa Monica house, during his 12 days off.

“Pretty much making Much Ado was my anniversary present from my wife. It wasn’t so much that she said she’d let me make the movie. She said she was going to make me make the movie,” Whedon explained exclusively to EW at Wednesday night’s Oscars Outdoors screening and Q&A in Hollywood. “We were supposed to go to Venice, [but] she said, ‘I think the best thing for you would be to do Much Ado. We’re ready. We have our micro-budget studio set up. You have a crew. You have a cast. The location is really cheap. And you have a palpable need to reconnect with why you love your job. And Venice isn’t sinking that fast.’ So, yeah, she performed an act of extraordinary sacrifice, and on the first day of shooting, she asked me, ‘Are you happy?’ I smiled so hard that my face broke.” READ FULL STORY

'Atonement' director Joe Wright a contender for coveted 'Fifty Shades of Grey' gig -- Report

British director Joe Wright has emerged as a favorite to direct the adaptation of E L  James’ sex-soaked bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey, according to the Hollywood Reporter. (Universal had no comment on the report.) Wright, 40, has ties with Universal and Focus Features, who ponied up $5 million for the movie rights, having directed four films for Focus: Anna Karenina, Hanna, Pride and Prejudice, and perhaps most promisingly for Fifty Shades fans, the Oscar-nominated Atonement. In the most stirring scene of the 2007 film, doomed lovers Keira Knightley and James McAvoy emit tremendous heat pressed up against the library shelf. It’s sparks like these that fans of tentative Anastasia Steele and her pathologically intense lover Christian Grey are hungry for in the adaptation. Watch the beginning of the scene below: READ FULL STORY

'Tiger Eyes' trailer: Judy Blume novel finally comes to the big screen -- VIDEO

Though they’ve sold zillions of copies, won praise from critics and librarians everywhere, and taught millions of kids about tough topics like sex and bullying, none of Judy Blume’s 20-odd novels has ever been made into a feature film — until now.

This summer, an adaptation of Blume’s 1981 YA book Tiger Eyes will hit theaters and On Demand, bringing the celebrated author’s work to the big screen for the first time. The movie stars Arrow‘s Willa Holland as Davey Wexler, a teen who moves from New Jersey to New Mexico after her convenience store owner father is shot to death. The movie should be a fairly moody meditation on grief — though nostalgia hounds will be tickled to spot Felicity star (and former Pink Power Ranger) Amy Jo Johnson as Davey’s mother, Gwen. READ FULL STORY

First Look: Shailene Woodley faces knives in 'Divergent' -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Divergent, the highly anticipated adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth’s best-selling YA series, only recently began filming on location in Chicago. But Shailene Woodley, who stars as heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior, tells EW that the younger members of the Neil Burger-directed movie — which includes Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Theo James and Zoë Kravitz — have already clicked. “It’s a good group,” she says. “We’re hanging out on weekends, celebrating birthdays. Everyone just wants to get to know one another. It’s rare to get a big group together and not have any conflicts. It’s really kind of amazing.”

Divergent takes place in a dystopian future where society is divided up into five factions. In this exclusive photograph, Tris is taking the place of a fellow Dauntless initiate, and must stand still while knives are thrown at her head. “It’s about being selfless and standing up for what’s right,” Woodley says.

But don’t worry about those knives: “They’re just rubber,” she says.

Read more:
Tony Goldwyn joins ‘Divergent’ — EXCLUSIVE
‘Divergent’ has found its ‘Four’! Theo James talks about starring in the next big YA franchise — EXCLUSIVE

'Scott Pilgrim' reunion and 'Iron Man 3' added to EW CapeTown Festival

If you’re a fan, friend, or Evil Ex of Ramona Flowers, it’s a good time to make a Pilgrimage to Hollywood.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will get a next-level celebration on May 1 when the Entertainment Weekly CapeTown Film Festival in Los Angeles reunites filmmaker Edgar Wright with two of the film’s stars — Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jason Schwartzman — and Bryan Lee O’Malley, the Canadian cartoonist who has followed Pilgrim’s progress (or lack thereof) over six bestselling graphic novels.

Maybe the inventive 2010 film didn’t light it up at the box-office like studios execs hoped, but with its 8-bit spirit and subversive wit (not to mention all of the superhero cameos) it’s a natural fit at the CapeTown Festival. The EW event with a quirky name — no, the home office is not in South Africa — has a truly stacked first-year schedule with on-stage guests such as Terry Gilliam, Kurt Russell, Richard Donner, and Neil Gaiman. The festival, sponsored by TNT’s Falling Skies, kicks off April 30 with a free screening of Iron Man 3 for EW subscribers and wraps up May 6 with Star Trek (2009) and Leonard Nimoy’s return from retirement for a one-night visit to Federation space. All tickets are $11 or less but most screenings are sold out.

The EW festival is staged at the Egyptian Theatre in partnership with the American Cinematheque, the non-profit arts center that owns and operates the 91-year-old movie palace that was shuttered for years until a $12 million renovation returned to its Old Hollywood glory. The festival is also the site of a special May the Fourth be with You celebration of Star Wars Day (May 4) with four screenings of The Return of the Jedi (which made its world premiere at the Egyptian in May 1983) and a free fan-fest at the Egyptian Courtyard, with activities, cosplay photo ops, giveaways, and merchants.

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New 'Catching Fire' pics feature Katniss and Prim

Catching Fire‘s teaser trailer will premiere Sunday night during the MTV Movie Awards, and until then, we’ll have to content ourselves with a pair of new images from the Hunger Games sequel. The first shows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her angelic sister Prim (Willow Shields) sharing a tender moment, while the second shows Katniss contemplating her mortality. Or something. Both have been posted on Lionsgate’s Hunger Games Explorer site, which will host the teaser after it airs at 9 p.m. Sunday — and is set to release two new new photos before the trailer hits the Interwebs.

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