Archive for April, 2020
When Smallville was still on the air, there was talk of Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley) getting his own TV series, so why did the CW create Arrow with Stephen Amell in the lead role instead? Long before Amell wore the green hood, the CW had Justin Hartley as its Green Arrow on Smallville. Introduced in Smallville season 6 as a recurring character who could push Clark Kent (Tom Welling) closer to fulfilling his destiny, Hartley's Oliver Queen became a series regular for the show's last three seasons.
At the end of Smallville's 10-season run, the show's success led to the CW launching another superhero series based on an iconic DC Comics character. When it was reported that the network was looking at Green Arrow for the show's protagonist, naturally some fans expected that a spinoff was coming for Justin Hartley's take on the Emerald Archer, but this never happened. Once Smallville ended, Arrow went into development, and new actors were cast, with Amell playing Oliver Queen. It was later revealed that Hartley was offered a cameo on Arrow on multiple occasions, but it never worked out.
If the CW already a Green Arrow with Justin Hartley, why did it recast him with a different actor? It's true that the CW did in fact want to launch a spinoff about Hartley's character, but by the time Smallville ended, a new approach was chosen. According to Hartley, numerous options were explored. After Green Arrow formed Smallville's Justice League in season 6, the CW considered creating a Justice League series centered on Oliver as its leader. Another spinoff idea was a show that would have sent Oliver and Lois Lane (Erica Durance) - with whom he was romantically involved in season 6 - to Metropolis. But the creators of Arrow wanted to start a new story from scratch, rather than continue an existing one.
Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim said in 2012, "We certainly wanted to chart out own destiny" [via EW]. Arrow season 1 told a story about Oliver Queen coming back from being on an island for five years and going on a mission of revenge to kill all on the people on his father's list. From the beginning, Oliver Queen was a very different kind of hero than what fans were used to from shows like Smallville, as Oliver was a dark character who was willing to kill for his mission, but over the course of the series, Oliver's mission evolved and his methods changed. Arrow couldn't have gone in this direction with Smallville's Oliver.
Smallville already told Green Arrow's origin story, explained how his parents died, married him to Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack), and had him deal with his own issues about the morality of killing, whereas Arrow's Oliver Queen had yet to go on any of these journeys. With Stephen Amell's character, Arrow gave the writers and producers an opportunity to create new characters and new conflicts. By starting from scratch, Arrow was able to provide eight years of stories for the Emerald Archer.
Producer Jason Blum doesn't think Marvel productions will resume until 2021. Starting back in March, the coronavirus pandemic hit the entertainment industry hard. Major movies ended up being postponed to either later in the year or to 2021, with No Time to Die being the very first to do so. In fact, so many movies have fled their release dates that the next major film expected to roll out is Warner Bros.' Tenet on July 17. There's still a chance it could be moved, however, if movie theaters don't open up on time, though there's a hope they will in early July. On the production side, countless film and television shoots have been suspended with no clear idea as to when they'll be able to pick up again.
Marvel Studios has found itself struggling along with the rest of the industry, particularly where productions are concerned. Its latest film, Black Widow, was supposed to open this weekend before getting bumped to November. That change resulted in much of Marvel's Phase 4 slate being shifted back. Additionally, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' production is currently shut down, as well as all of the studio's ongoing television productions. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, currently slated for an August release, was only weeks away from completing shooting before being suspended, while WandaVision and Loki likely had more work to do.
Right now, the biggest question is, when will things get back to normal? No one has any clear answers, but some are willing to make predictions. In a Los Angeles Times piece consulting various industry players about the ongoing situation, The Invisible Man producer Jason Blum estimated "smaller productions will start sooner," but those for Marvel and other big budget films might not start until 2021.
As Blum isn't actually associated with Marvel, it's important to remember his comments aren't indicative of what will actually happen. However, he does raise a good point. Smaller productions will likely get the green light to get back to work sooner purely because they'll have a lower number of cast and crew members around. Bigger projects, like Marvel's, require far more people to be present, which right now is a major health concern. Because of this, there is a chance that the delays on those big films might extend even longer as people wait for absolute safety.
Should Marvel's delays go on for much longer, Phase 4 could see itself impacted even more than it already was. The first film to follow Black Widow, Eternals, has completed shooting and, per the last update, is in remote post-production. The real hiccup might come from Shang-Chi, which is currently slated for May 2021. With a great deal of filming still left to be completed, there's a chance it could get pushed once again if things can't resume soon. Of course, this is all speculation, and things can change in the coming months. After all, 2021 is still a long ways off.
Source: Los Angeles Times
The one-shot action scene in Netflix's Extraction hides at least 28 camera cuts. Extraction stars Chris Hemsworth as mercenary Tyler Rake, who is tasked with rescuing Ovi, played by Rudhraksh Jaiswal, the son of a major underworld boss. The movie also marks the directorial debut of stunt man Sam Hargrave, whose work in numerous Marvel Cinematic Universe films has been especially noteworthy.
Hargrave is also the latest example of a growing trend of stunt performers stepping into directing. The John Wick movies have been particularly notable examples of this with the directorial involvement of stunt men David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. While Extraction's reviews have been somewhat mixed, the movie has been highly praised for its dynamic action sequences, especially its one-shot chase and fight set piece.
Running for a whopping 12 minutes, Extraction's one-shot sequence sees Rake and Ovi fleeing dozens of corrupt police officers as well as Saju, played by Randeep Hooda, the coerced associate of Ovi's father. The set piece transitions from a high-speed chase to a hallway fight sequence in a local apartment complex and back again, while disguising all the points at which the camera cuts. Here are the 28 hidden camera cuts we spotted in Extraction's one-shot action scene.
Cut - The Camera Spin At The Beginning Of The Car Chase
The first cut takes place when Rake and Ovi are fleeing Saju. As the two enter the car, the camera spins back to show Saju in pursuit and firing at them, with the camera then spinning back to show them driving off, with the spin masking the first cut.
Cut - The Camera Going Into The Back Seat
As Rake drives off, he and Ovi run into a police blockade, forcing him to retreat in reverse and spin the car forward to take a new escape route. As they flee, the camera then moves into the back seat of the car, allowing for the next cut.
Cut - The Camera Spins Forward In The Back Seat
The chase continues and Rake drives the car while the camera rotates to the rear window, showing the pursuing cops. A second later, the camera spins forward again to follow the action ahead, giving way to the next cut.
Cut - The Car Crashes Through The Gate
As Rake continues driving ahead, the car comes up to the small village's locked gate. Rake plows the car right through the gate, allowing for the next cut.
Cut - The Camera Spins Forward Again After The Police Car Bumps Them
Rake continues fleeing his and Ovi's pursuers, with the camera rotating again to look through the rear window. After one of the police cars bumps into Rake's car, the camera quickly spins forward again, giving way to another cut.
Cut - The Camera Spins Around And Goes Through The Rear Window
As the chase continues, the camera once again performs another rapid rotation to look through the rear window before passing right through it. There's obviously some CGI trickery at work here for the camera to move directly through the glass, while the quick camera spin that precedes it also hides the next cut.
Cut - The Camera Shifts To Saju's Car
With the cops still in pursuit, the driver of one of them suddenly opens fire on the police car to his right, causing the car to crash with the camera then quickly shifting to show Saju at the wheel of the other car and gun in hand. This also hides the next cut in the scene.
Cut - The Wall Passes In Front Of The Car
After taking out one police car, Saju turns his attention to the one on his left, shooting at it while ramming it with his car, causing it to crash while also causing another police car to spin out of the chase. Immediately after this, the wall of an overpass momentarily obstructs Saju's car from view to hide the next cut.
Cut - The Camera Spins Forward After Rake Shoots At The Police Car
A moment later, Rake finds their escape route is blocked, with the camera then going back into the back seat of the car. The camera the looks through the rear window as Rake fires at another of the police cars, before swiftly spinning forward once more for another cut.
Cut - The Camera Spins As Rake's Car Crashes With Saju's Car
As Rake drives on, he sees another gate being shut before he can drive through. He then puts the car in reverse and drives backwards at high speed before colliding with Saju's car. Just before the collision, the camera spins back again to capture the crash through the rear window while hiding another cut.
Cut - The Cop's Body Passes In Front Of The Camera Inside The Apartment Building
Following the crash, Rake and Ovi flee into an apartment building, with Saju and the pursuing cops following them. The camera follows the team as they go up the first few floors of the building and even into a few residences. As one cop departs one of the rooms, the camera does a close-up on his back that takes up the entire screen, hiding another cut.
Cut - The Camera Spins After Rake Kills The Cop
The camera then follows the same cop as he exits the room and goes back out into the hallway. He continues scanning the halls until Rake emerges from a vacant room to stab the cop repeatedly, killing him. After the cop falls over dead, the camera shows Ovi in the room Rake just came out of, before doing another quick spin back to Rake for the next cut.
Cut - Ovi Runs Into The Room Away From the Cop
Following this, Rake takes out several more cops, while Ovi is chased by one and runs down the hallway in the opposite direction from Rake. Ovi then finds an open door to one of the residences and goes inside, with the camera doing another rapid spin to obstruct the next cut.
Cut - Ovi Is Dragged Across The Floor By The Cop
As Ovi continues to flee, he attempts to go through the closed door on the opposite end of the room, with the cop then grabbing him by his Kevlar vest. The camera then quickly drops to follow the action from the floor level, hiding another cut as Ovi as dragged across the floor by the cop.
Cut - The Cop Walks Out The Door And Gets Shot By Rake
As Ovi as being dragged, he manages to slip free from his Kevlar vest, and runs back to the door and goes out. The cop follows him out the door, only to be met with a bullet to the head from Rake on the other side, with a quick camera spin as Rake pulls the trigger hiding another cut.
Cut - Camera Spin As Rake And Ovi Climb The Staircase
After Rake takes down several more cops, he and Ovi run down the hallway and climb a staircase that leads to the roof. Another rapid camera spin also occurs here as they start up the staircase, allowing for the next cut to happen.
Cuts - Rake And Ovi Going Across The Rooftop
With Rake and Ovi on the rooftop, Rake pushes Ovi off the roof and onto the rooftop of the adjacent building before jumping himself. Two quick cuts are hidden here, first when the camera does a close-up on Ovi's torso just before Rake pushes him to the other roof. The next comes just after Rake lands, with the camera's view being consumed entirely by a close-up of the rooftop before coming back up again as Rake returns to his feet.
Cut - Rake And Saju Fall Off The Roof
After crossing the rooftop, Rake and Ovi descend through the apartment building, going down a few staircases while also going through a few apartments. After Rake kicks a door in, he and Ovi go through another room before continuing on the balcony, only to run into Saju. After a struggle between he and Rake, the two tumble off the balcony for the next cut, with the two rebounding off an awning before landing on the street below.
Cut - The Motorbike Passes In Front of Rake and Saju
After their fall, Rake and Saju get to their feet for a knife fight. As they fight, a motorbike carrying a pink mattress passes between them, momentarily blocking Rake from view for another cut.
Cut - The Camera Passes Rake's Body Just Before The Car Hits Him
Rake and Saju continue fighting, with Rake managing to get the upper hand and kicking Saju down. The camera then passes his back to hide the next cut, just before Rake is swept off his feet by an incoming car.
Cut - The Truck Hits Saju
As Saju recovers, he walks down the street to shoot the cops that have gotten hold of Ovi, before taking him by the hand and walking back down the street. As he re-enters the area where he'd been fighting Rake a few moments ago, Saju is suddenly sent flying by a truck driven by Rake; the camera spins quickly to follow Saju and allowing for another cut.
Cut - Ovi Gets Into The Truck
After hitting Saju, Rake opens the passenger side door of the truck for Ovi to get in. The camera follows as he climbs into the truck and does a close-up of the door after it's been shut, continuing up to sit next to Ovi just outside of the window, allowing for another cut.
Cut - Rake And Ovi's Truck Passes Into Traffic
As Rake drives the truck, he and Ovi again find themselves being pursued by police cars, with Rake driving the truck into a busy street full of traffic. As this happens, the action passes through a collection of driving cars with dirt rising into frame while the camera spins to the rear to show a bus and several cars colliding, while also facilitating another cut.
Cut - The Camera Spins Back To Follow Their Truck
Following this, another quick cut is worked into the chase, with the camera spinning forward again to follow Rake and Ovi's fleeing truck, with the camera once again joining Ovi outside of the passenger window.
Cuts - The Camera Spins Ahead Of Them, Then Back To Them
As Rake continues driving, two more cuts are worked in, first with the camera spinning forward to show the road ahead of Rake and Ovi. After this, the camera then spins back once more to right outside of the windshield, with Rake and Ovi preparing to jump from the truck.
Cut - The Camera Spins Forward As The Truck Crashes
Rake then pushes Ovi out of the truck before jumping himself. After they land, the camera then spins forward for the final cut of the sequence, capturing the speeding truck as it finally crashes.
Single-take action scenes are incredibly difficult to pull off, but they're also more ubiquitous today than they've ever been before. Extraction throws a lot at viewers with its one-shot escape sequence and does so while keeping its numerous camera cuts very-well hidden. Amid the growing number of professional stunt people becoming full-fledged filmmakers, Sam Hargrave's Extraction crafts what is arguably the most memorable action scene so far of 2020.
Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Valhalla will feature the equivalent of viking rap battles as a side activity, according to the game's website. Officially announced yesterday, Assassin's Creed Valhalla is slated to be the latest installment in Ubisoft's influential Assassin's Creed series, which, over the course of several installments, takes players across history and the globe as they untangle a conflict millennia in the making between Assassins and Templars, although it's been reported that Valhalla will not feature traditional versions of these factions. After years of annual releases, which led to some unpolished games and waning review scores, the Assassin's Creed formula was shaken up with Origins, which spent a little longer in development and shifted focus away from stealth to RPG-like combat. Odyssey continued the two-year development and RPG traditions, and it seems Valhalla will do the same, although not all fans are happy about that.
Valhalla is aiming to distinguish itself even further from the two most recent releases. For one, it's much bigger in scope, with a whopping 15 studios working on the title in some capacity. Players will be able to choose the sex of the protagonist, as was the case in Odyssey, along with a settlement-building mechanic similar to Assassin's Creed III. Valhalla, as the name suggests, takes players to the Viking Age, specifically on ninth-century England and Norway, and Ubisoft has promised players many side-activities appropriate for that era.
Via a report from IGN, one of those side-activities includes the little-known tradition of "flyting," which Ubisoft describes as "verbally devastating rivals through the art of the Viking rap battle." Flyting, which comes from the Old English word meaning "to quarrel," is a documented tradition where Vikings could insult their enemies in a battle decided over words instead of weapons, not unlike the modern-day rap battle. The exact mechanics of flyting were not described, but given that dialogue wheels and deeper player customization were added in Origins and Odyssey, flyting seems to fit perfectly with the new AC formula.
Ubisoft confirmed other side-activities for the upcoming open-world RPG, including "hunting, fishing, dice, and drinking games." Vikings are commonly perceived as reckless raiders, but Assassin's Creed Valhalla has continued with the franchise's tradition of hiring a team of historians to ensure accuracy and realism. "They were a fascinating society in terms of culture and pretty fair in the way they treated women, who had important rights at the time." said Thierry Noël, one such historian hired by Ubisoft. Rumors of a Viking-focuses Assassin's Creed had been swirling for a while, but certainly few had expected that to mean rap battle mechanics.
While the new direction Assassin's Creed has taken received a polarized reception from fans, the new setting and period for each game brings new cultures to explore and mini-games to try. The holiday 2020 release is also great timing, as this is one of the first big games confirmed for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, although it will also be coming to current generation consoles. Players will be able to cut down their enemies with both axes and sick Viking rhymes when Assassin's Creed Valhalla storms its way onto shelves later this year.