JUMPCUT’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2019

2018 was, by most people’s standards, a solid year for cinema. From Blockbuster titans such as Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther to silent, independent treasures like Roma and Leave No Trace; this was the year that appeased to the tastes of casual filmgoers and avid cinephiles alike. Thankfully, 2019 is shaping up to be just as good a year, perhaps even stronger; boasting a collection of projects destined for greatness.

We at JUMPCUT have come together to collect our most anticipated films that 2019 has to offer, and boy, are we excited. So without further ado, here are our top 10 most eagerly anticipated movies of 2019.

This piece will also include a special addition from Fiona Underhill covering her most anticipated films that will premiere at Sundance in 2019…


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#10 – Us [dir. Jordan Peele]

In 2017, directorial debutant Jordan Peele, known by many as one of the members of comedy genius duo Key and Peele, stunned the cinematic world with Get Out – a harrowing, satirical tale of racial discrimination in its most barbaric form.

2 years later he is set to return to our screens with Us, a horror-thriller promised to be a spiritual sequel to Peele’s predecessor. Boasting a diverse cast including the likes of Elisabeth Moss, Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, we can expect another chilling tale dealing with similar societal issues as seen in Get Out. Although plot details about his new project are being kept under wraps, a new trailer is set to be released on Christmas day – and what better way to spend your festive season than to be terrified stiff by the genius of Jordan Peele?

Written by Corey Hughes

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#9 – Captain Marvel [dir. Anna Boden; Ryan Fleck]

When Thanos snapped his herculean fingers at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, all seemed lost. Half of the universe’s population was eradicated at the sound of the snap; our beloved heroes dissolving to dust in the wind. But there could be a way out. A way to defeat Thanos once and for all. Enter Captain Marvel.

Hailed by many as Marvel’s most powerful superhero, Captain Marvel makes her long-awaited feature debut in her titular origin story set to release early next year. Stepping into the esteemed boots of Marvel’s heroine is Brie Larson, a name alone worthy of generating great excitement. The Oscar-winning actress is joined by MCU newcomers Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn and Gemma Chan, and also by regulars Samuel L. Jackson as (now two-eyed) Nick Fury and Lee Pace as the villainous Ronan – a cast not to be missed.

There’s a lot to be excited for here, least of all its contribution to fuelling the excitement for Avengers Endgame; another eagerly anticipated release in 2019 that will undoubtedly be featured later on in this list…

Written by Corey Hughes

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#8 – IT: Chapter 2 [dir. Andy Muschietti] 

2017 was a big year for the franchise and, as you would expect, the worldwide box office was dominated by Marvel, Star Wars, Wonder Woman and Fast and Furious. One of the unexpected hits of the year came in the form of a child-eating clown in Andres Mushcietti’s IT. Loved by critics and audiences alike, IT stormed to a worldwide box office of $700m and proved that there is still a place in the market for blockbuster horror, despite the surge in excellent indie horror films in recent years.

It is no surprise then, that a sequel will hit our screens in September 2019. The film will see Jessica Chastain team up with Muschietti again after working together on Mama. Bill Skarsgard will reprise his role as Pennywise and James McAvoy is the other standout name signed on to star alongside the returning kids. Exact plot details are still being kept quiet, but if we use Stephen King’s novel and the 1990 mini-series as a template, we can expect to see Pennywise return to Derry 27 years on from the events of IT and what’s left of the Losers Club reunite in an attempt to rid their hometown of this evil once and for all.

Written by Nick Deal

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#7 – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood [dir. Quentin Tarantino]

Only Quentin Tarantino, known for his provocatively visual style of filmmaking, could make a movie based loosely on the Charles Manson killings and cast such a charming ensemble of actors. With the likes of Leonardo DiCpario (returning from his Oscar win in The Revenant), Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell and Brad Pitt among the selection, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood seems too good to miss, but when Tarantino himself describes DiCaprio and Pitt as “the most exciting star dynamic duo since Robert Redford and Paul Newman”, this is a cinematic experience that will go down in history.

But for many, the return of Tarantino is enough to get butts in seats. Since his initial declaration that he will not be making more than ten feature films, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood marks his ninth; destined to be another milestone in his illustrious career thus far. Has he really only got one more film left in him after this? We sure hope not.

Written by Corey Hughes

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#6 – Glass [dir. M. Night Shyamalan]

It’s fair to say that M. Night Shyamalan, deemed by many as the master of the plot twist (sometimes at the expense of plausibility), has had a bit of a topsy-turvy career. With undeniable classics under his belt like The Sixth Sense and Signs, he’s also got some stinkers tucked away too; The Happening and The Last Airbender, yes, I’m looking at you. But with the warm critical and audience receptions for his last outing, Split, it seems that the inconsistent director is back on the right track.

Since Bruce Willis’ shock cameo in the final moments of Split, Shyamalan teased a joint-universe within his own films – the fact that the events of his last project co-exist within the same universe of Unbreakable; a trademark twist. The upcoming Glass is the sequel of all sequels, bringing together James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson’s characters into one explosive feature. You can see why it’s featured on our list.

Written by Corey Hughes

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#5 – Godzilla: King of the Monsters [dir. Michael Dougherty]

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla left some people wanting more. It focused more on the human element, it showed the action from a human perspective, looking up at the kaiju as they wrecked skyscrapers. At one point, Godzilla is shown in full for the first time, and the film cuts away to show the ensuing fight on a small news broadcast in the background. I get the problems people have with it. But, with that said, when Edwards shows us the action, it is epic. In every possible way, it is fantastic, it’s weighty, it’s brutal, it’s how you’d expect three 300ft tall monsters fighting would look. We want more of that. Less human, more monster.

Enter Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Everything about this long-awaited sequel (5 years on from its predecessor) points to it being bigger. It will reintroduce classic monsters from the Godzilla canon in Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, and pit them all against each other and Godzilla in a winner-takes-the-Earth battle of the millennium. Add in some exciting new actors to the cast like Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Charles Dance, and Bradley Whitford, you have a film that’s worth your attention beyond just the kaiju fights.

If you haven’t had the chance yet, the newest trailer is essential viewing as it shows these 3 in mind-blowing action, and it shows the beginnings of a mammoth clash between Godzilla and King Ghidorah, Godzilla’s giant 3-headed arch-nemesis. It is going to be a film that needs to be seen on the biggest, loudest screen you can find. I’ll be there opening night.

Written by Rhys Bowen Jones

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#4 – Joker [dir. Todd Phillips]

Not since Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy – without being remotely persuaded by Wonder Woman’s origin – has DC zapped me enough to rival the enthusiasm I have for the mega Marvel universe. Nor did Jared Leto come close to re-establishing the Joker as his own like Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger did before. But a new circus is in town to pave the way for a fresh batch of DC origins led by The Hangover director Todd Phillips, who’s ready to unravel the mind of a serious, but not so serious clown.

Joaquin Phoenix – who we’ve already seen sprinting through Manhattan in full retro-clown costume – is Arthur Fleck, portrayed as a failing comedian who turns criminal amidst his misfortune. Set in the 1980s, this vision will follow the storyline of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke that should be flawless material for a raw and grounding backstory that’s set to be a stand-alone project. With promising support from Robert de Niro and confirmed appearances from Thomas Wayne, a young Bruce, trusty butler Alfred, and even Arkham Asylum, Phillips will keep Joker connected to Batman treasures in vintage, indie style.

Rumoured to be titled DC Dark or DC Black, Joker will be crucial in reinvigorating a distinct line of DC movies that show promise of being purely character driven – hinted by its low budget of $55 million and a likely R rating – that will combat the franchise’s CGI heavy past. The Joker’s history is ambiguous – put clearly in his Killing Joke quote “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice” – putting creative freedom at an all-time high when building his foundation. 2019 should confidently host an intriguing version of his dark and twisted making.

Written by Jo Craig

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#3 – John Wick: Chapter 3 [dir. Chad Stahelski]

 There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and not to piss off John Wick.

Keanu Reeve’s John Wick has become somewhat of a contemporary action hero to match the likes of Jason Bourne and James Bond, a darkened, hardened and relentless figure whose reputation strikes fear into anyone who knows his name. Chapter 3 sees the culmination of Chad Stahelski’s John Wick trilogy, its two predecessors setting the benchmark for the modern action flick with its reliance on long-shots and exuberant fight sequences to demonstrate Wick’s fearless physicality.

The Wick films also lay the foundations for an interesting mythological backdrop, particularly its realm of assassins who roam mysterious Continental hotels across the globe. It will be interesting to see how these mysteries play out in the forthcoming film, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that we’re all here just to see Keanu Reeves annihilate his enemies in the most stylistic and aesthetically stimulating way possible. Especially from horseback. Orgasmic…

Written by Corey Hughes

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#2 – Avengers: Endgame [dir. The Russo Brothers] 

“Oh god” uttered Captain America, only to be followed by a hauntingly melancholic suite and a mightily satisfied smile from the Great Titan. When that shot cut to black, certainly in my screening, you could feel an unparalleled devastation in the air. Comic book filmgoers have been treated to darkness before, but this was new. Sudden, harsh, genocidal; this was the good guy’s worst primal fear – the bad guy winning. Some say it’s cheap, some say it’s inconsequential, I say it’s genius. How else are we fully to believe the universe-spanning power of Thanos than if he doesn’t get the chance to click those gold-plated, stone-garnished fingers?

Fitting then that the trailer for the climatic Avengers film, Endgame, is ruthlessly sombre. The loss, the agony, the powerlessness; this is a different kind of superhero movie. More urgent, more emotional. “Thanos did exactly what he said he was going to do. He wiped out 50% of all living creatures.”

It’s a modern cinema wonder the Russo’s pulled off Infinity War, but Endgame is different. Endgame is in the purest sense of the word, an event. The decade-spanning culmination of the world-building, victories and losses we as viewers have invested in.

How is it all going to pan out? How will Tony Stark survive? Will he and Cap see each other again? How did Ant-Man make it out the Quantum Realm? How will they save the day? The inevitability of heroes returning doesn’t dampen the tension, it elicits further compassion. We want to push our arms through the screen to give our remaining Avengers a pat on the back, just to say, “It’ll be okay”. But there’s more than every chance it won’t be – The Russo’s aren’t chumps. The question that’s leaving everyone’s trembling lips is, “Who’s going to (actually) die?”.

Depending on your age growing up, your ‘big series’ varies. For some, it’ll be Star Wars, or Indiana Jones, or for later generations, Harry Potter. But in terms of scope, consistency and vision, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the grand-daddy of the blockbuster franchises. Make no qualms; Endgame is, arguably, the biggest movie of all time. My excitement couldn’t be contained within any Infinity Stone – many, many, many tears will be shed on April 26, 2019. See you there.

Written by Cameron Frew

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#1Star Wars – Episode IX [dir. JJ. Abrams]

Topping our list is the as of yet untitled Star Wars Episode IX, a film with perhaps larger expectations on its shoulders than it probably deserves. It’s no secret that preceding instalment The Last Jedi split audiences down the middle, meaning Episode IX is the rare blockbuster that, to leave the legacy it hopes to, needs to both satisfy those still on board with the saga and revitalise the interests of those who fell off over the past year. It’ll be a gargantuan feat, so here’s hoping JJ Abrams is up for the task.

What can we expect from Episode IX itself, though? Well, that’s hard to say. The film is being kept a secret as you’d expect for a trilogy-concluding blockbuster of this magnitude, and if there’s one thing absolutely no one can deny about The Last Jedi, it’s that it shook the saga up to such an extent that predicting what comes next is entirely impossible. Will Rey complete her Jedi training and fulfil her destiny? Will the Resistance rise up and defeat the First Order? What state with the currently unstable First Order even be in when we rejoin the story? And, number one on my mind, what fate awaits Kylo Ren as his journey of self-discovery reaches its big conclusion? The one thing we do know, though? None of us are going to want to miss this one.

Written by Ryan Morris

What films are you most excited for in 2019? Be sure to keep in touch and let us know!

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Star Wars Fan Film ‘Vader Episode 1: Shards Of The Past’ Is The Vader Film We’re Looking For!

Last Friday Star Wars Theory uploaded the first part of his fan-made Vadar film, Shards of the Past – and it’s had quite the reception from Star Wars fans and even reached #2 on YouTube’s trending list!  The film takes place in the early days of the Empire after the fall of the Republic. In true Star Wars fashion, the opening crawl text reads:

“Anakin Skywalker is DEAD. For eight months, the mysterious Darth Vader has enforced the Emperor’s commands. Fighting between the loss of Padme, and the new cursed life he now leads, Vader must do what must be done when a surviving Jedi Master from Order 66 has lured him to the home planet of his late Wife’s tomb…”

Whilst having nowhere near the budget of Disney, this fan-film boasts impressive visual design and CGI, which to me shows that a lot of love went into making this. I was particularly impressed with the shots of an un-masked and unarmoured Vadar, which actually led me to make an audible ‘woah’. The entire short is shot incredibly well and has left me wanting more.. so much more!

The film had a 2-night premiere in L.A last week for fans and supporters of the film and Star Wars Theory will be sharing the crowds reactions on his channel in the very near future.

The script for the full film has been completed, but there is no news yet if there an Episode 2 will actually be made. We’ll likely hear more news on this at the start of the new year, but we’re hoping with the amount of love it’s receiving will mean there will be even more supporters backing this fan-made delight.

You can watch the impressive 16-minute short below!

Cast Confirmed For “Final Installment Of The Skywalker Saga” Star Wars: Episode IX

Lucasfilm have this evening announced the new and returning cast members for the next installment of Star WarsEpisode IX

Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd are all returning to their respective roles. Also confirmed to return is Bill Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Anthony Daniels as C3-P0, and Mark Hamill as Jedi Master Luke Skywalker!

In a surprising move, the late Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa will appear in Episode IX, with J J Abrams using previously unseen footage that was shot during The Force Awakens

“Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.” – J J Abrams

Richard E. Grant and Naomi Ackie will be two new faces in a galaxy far far away as they join the cast for Episode IX. Legendary composer John Williams will return to score the film too!

Filming will begin August 1st and the wait begins until December 2019 for the film’s release!

Who are you most excited to see in Episode IX?

INTERVIEW: Phil Clarke

Interview by Tom Sheffield

Here at JUMPCUT ONLINE we have been fortunate enough to interview a number of people who have worked in all different areas across the film industry. Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Phil Clarke, a screenwriter and script consultant who has worked in the film industry for the best part of 20 years. Phil has worked on films such as ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Star Wars’, and with the likes of Danny Boyle, Tim Burton, and George Lucas.

We wanted to talk to Phil about his time in the industry, learn some of his favourite aspects of the work he’s done and his current script consulting, and also see if he could share some helpful tips for any budding writers who may be reading this.


TS: Hi Phil, thank you taking time to talk to us. For those who may not be aware of your work, would you like to introduce yourself to our readers.

PC:  Would love to! I’m a freelance script consultant, a role I’ve been doing full-time for well over a decade now through my own company: PHILMSCRIBE.COM. This followed many years working in film on the sets and in the production offices of some major motion pictures, TV shows, music videos and commercials. I have also written for the screen – having a number of projects optioned –  and for the page, with several books published over the years.

TS: Can you remember what it was in particular that first piqued your interest in becoming a screenwriter?

PC: Honestly, I think it was a combination of things. Falling in love with visual storytelling through watching movies was a key factor. I have always enjoyed the physical process of writing. The look, shape, sound and meaning of words. Creative writing classes at school. Writing essays… This led to looking for jobs I wanted to do in the industry and writing was an obvious focus. This focus was further developed after being fortunate enough to work closely with established screenwriters: Chris Columbus, Steve Kloves etc. Reading about how Andrew Kevin Walker was working at Tower Records when he sold one of his first scripts. This gave me heart as I was working at Tower around the same time. And to quote the Mamet-written film ‘The Edge’, I thought “What one man can do, another can do.”

TS: What was the first film you worked on, and how did you find your first experience working on a film set?

PC: The first film I worked on was ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’ back in ’97. Was strange as not three months earlier I had taken my mum to see ‘Return of the Jedi: Special Edition’ at the cinema, having just been made redundant. I’d have laughed in your face if you’d told me I’d be working on the first prequel that summer. Must admit: back then it was hard not to be a wide-eyed fanboy. A lot of it was a blur. My first time on set was for a scene in the vast Theed Hangar with all the sleek, shiny Naboo starfighters lined up. It was surreal. I was in awe. It really did feel like I was in a galaxy far, far away!

TS: What’re your top 3 films you’ve worked on and what about them makes them top 3 material?

PC: Hmm… tough one. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ would probably have to be #1. It was the first film I was involved in from the very start on early pre-production to final wrap. And I wasn’t quite so starstruck so I could really take it all in and learn. I was the studio’s Production Liaison so I was able to see and understand how every department worked and even after my shift was over, I’d stay behind and observe on set. Not a bad education watching Tim Burton, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, Scott Rudin, Colleen Atwood and co work their magic.

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is a very close second. By this time I was freelance crew, working for the AD (Assistant Director) department. And it wasn’t long before I then became Chris Columbus’ on-set PA. If I thought ‘Sleepy Hollow’ provided me the perfect film education, this role would change my thinking. On top of my set duties, I had the enviable job of accompanying Chris to all other departments. I would even get to watch the previous day’s rushes with him and the producers – not something afforded to many.

My third choice would be ‘Enigma’. While not my first film, this was my first ever screen credit. This allowed me to experience film-making on a comparatively smaller scale, especially after my time on ‘Star Wars’. I found myself in the hub of the film-making process: the Production Office. Getting to work with some legends of the British film-making scene on a film adaptation of Robert Harris’ period spy novel was a fantastic experience.

TS: Can you tell us how you got into the script consultant game? What do you find most enjoyable about reading other people’s screenplays?

PC: I started reading other people’s screenplays during my film crew days. Then this developed into reading in-house for several production companies before deciding to go it alone and open up to those – how should one put it? –  outside the inner circle. I felt I could provide more help to writers this way. Provide a more personal service. Talk to writers directly and get to the crux of a story. Also, I was enjoying this side of things. I discovered I didn’t just have a passion for it, I was actually pretty damn good (if I am allowed to blow my own trumpet!) It does take a certain skill-set to be a good script consultant.

What’s most enjoyable about reading scripts? Well, I count myself fortunate to get to read stories every day in all different genres. Something not to be sniffed at. But specifically regarding my role, I love being able to help writers. More often than not writers find themselves too close to their work and are unable to pinpoint what might be holding their script back from fulfilling its true potential. I get huge satisfaction from providing writers of all levels with guidance, objective insights, benefits of my experience, heuristic advice that allows them to discover how to improve their drafts so they stand a better chance of success.

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TS: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received in regards to your writing? 

PC: The best piece of advice was the simplest I’ve ever been given. It was while working as Chris Columbus’ on-set PA on the the first ‘Harry Potter’ film, which also coincided with my self-education in screenwriting. I was reading every book under the sun on the craft at that time. I remember finishing one of Syd Field’s many books on the subject where he pushes the importance of his 3-act story structure paradigm with accompanying plot points and pinches. And one day while walking back to set with Chris – writer of such movies as ‘Gremlins’ and ‘The Goonies’ – I asked him what he made of Field’s focus on this paradigm and he looked at me and said:

“Just write an entertaining story.”

This helped me to realise I shouldn’t get too bogged down on these kind of details. Screenwriters are storytellers first and foremost and I was running the risk of forgetting this. Newbie screenwriters often become dependent on these writing books as they tend to always suggest there is a formula one can follow. This is comforting for the greenhorn scribe groping away in the darkness, but every screenwriter should always keep in the forefront of their mind the fact they are telling a story and if it engages and entertains, then it’s working. Simple.

TS: What are 3 pieces of advice you’d give to any of our readers currently writing a screenplay? Are there any common mistakes they should avoid?

PC: Always happy to dish out some nuggets of educative gold. Though they’ll have to be rather broad as giving specific advice is best done in context on an individual’s script.

First up I’m going to repeat Chris’ advice to me some twenty years ago as it’s THAT important.  Never lose sight of the fact that your job is to write an entertaining story. This may seem a rather obvious statement, but you wouldn’t believe how many scripts I read that fail to entertain. Many writers get bogged down in other details; paradigms, scene structure, character arcs etc etc. Now all these elements are important, but if your focus is always on telling an engaging story, then you’re not going to go too far wrong.

Nugget #2: Don’t rush your script purely to meet a particular script contest deadline. Far too many writers fixate on a particular competition and end up submitting a poor draft. I always advise my clients to COMPLETE, then COMPETE. These contests are annual so there is always the following year. And if that’s too long to wait, submit it to one of the many other quality comps that run at other times of the year so it allows you the time to ensure your script is truly ready. And of course this advice extends to submitting to production companies. Make sure your script is pure gold before you even think about letting the powers-that-be see it. First impressions count and are never forgotten.

And my third and final nugget: Don’t be precious about your writing. If you’re lucky enough that you get your script sold and put into production, then this advice is key. Know that you’re giving your script up for adoption. To multiple parents! And they’ll make all sorts of changes. This is because film-making is a collaborative endeavour. Selling your idea is your goal. Do this and you’ve succeeded. So write with this intention. The same advice applies when dealing with people who are trying to help such as a script consultant. Be open to advice. You don’t need to take it, but if you’ve got yourself a practiced, skilled, knowledgeable one, then the likelihood is that their feedback is only going to improve your work.

And as for those common mistakes, where to start? The majority of screenplays I read, especially from those who are rather new to the craft, tend to feature the same flaws. Here are three that come to mind:

A large number of scripts I read make the mistake of not being a clear-enough story, lacking in a distinct reason for existence. The story ends up being one big shrug. It’s as if the writer doesn’t know why they are writing this particular tale. It’s essential to know what your story is truly about. You have to ask yourself: why this story above all others? It’s as if a writer thinks producers and companies are just twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do but wait for you to finish your script. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a highly competitive market. I’ve heard there are as many as a million scripts written each year. Certainly wouldn’t surprise me. So your spec script has to be F***ING BRILLIANT. (Excuse the language, but I felt it necessary!) It needs to hit all the right notes, be bulletproof or you’re running the risk of it being passed on and being resigned to the Recycle Bin.

Many make the mistake of choosing the easy option, the first thought. This tends to result in a predictable, over-familiar, hackneyed piece. Spec scripts need to bring something new, something fresh. Be inventive, creative.

Many scripts I read lack any clear, coherent theme. Or the writer ends up being too heavy-handed with their message. And then the script ends up sounding preachy. The best writers express their moral vision gradually, subtly and in distinct story-pertinent ways.

I’ll rattle some off quick-fire now: Protagonists aren’t fascinating enough or have no clear story goal. The scenes have little or no conflict. The script has too much dialogue or too much action. Poor formatting. A lack of attention to spelling and grammar.

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TS: As well as your screenwriting and script consulting, you’re also a published author. Is there anything in particular about true crime stories that makes you want to write about them?

PC: Not particularly. I was commissioned to write those titles. An author for hire.  But I did find I got really into the subject matter, grim and grisly as it was. I have always been fascinated by human behaviour; I think most good writers are. And researching and writing about serial killers certainly allows you to see the extreme end of that.

TS: With all the reading you must do every day, do you have any activities or hobbies you like to do in your downtime that doesn’t involve reading?

PC: Absolutely. And it’s imperative to get some balance to all that sitting and reading. I’ve always been a very active guy. If I have one thing I love as much as film, it’s football. I’m in my forties now but I still try and play as much as I can. In fact, I love most ball sports. Tennis, squash etc. I also go running regularly. There’s some gorgeous countryside around where I live and I have a number of different running routes I like to hit. I also go on a walking holiday at least once a year somewhere in the UK. This summer I’m returning to the Lakes and Dales to do some rambling.

TS: Do you have any screenplays or books in the works at the minute you can tell us about?

PC: Most of my time is taken up with the consulting, as you can imagine. But I’m always developing my own projects whenever I can. Being a private person, I tend to keep my cards fairly close to my chest (so being interviewed like this doesn’t come naturally!) I’m developing two thrillers, one with a time-travel bent, the other involving sport. That’s about all I want to say about them at this stage. I’d also like to return to stories for the page too. There are a few non-fiction titles I have itching away at the back of my brain that I am sure will insist upon being written at some point in the future.

TS: Our final, and probably most important question today – we know you must get asked what you favourite films are a lot, but we’d really like to know is… does pineapple belong on pizza?

PC: It can, yes, but there are caveats. So the Hawaiian – ham & pineapple – works. I’ve done extensive research on this – but I would balk at having pineapple on, say, a Meat Feast. That just feels wrong on a number of levels. It’s all about the combination. The ingredients need to complement one another. And some just don’t go together. I mean, can you imagine an Anchovy and Pineapple pizza?! (One could draw some clear parallels between this pizza topping query and screenwriting if one looked deep enough…)

TS: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Phil. We wish you the best of luck for future projects.

PC: Been an undiluted pleasure. If any of your readers wish to contact me and discuss their work and how I might be able to help them, then please let them know they can contact me anytime in a variety of ways.

Website // Twitter  // Instagram //  Facebook

You can also sign up for Phil’s mailing list to receive more tips, news, and special offers! philmscribe.com button 1.0

 

 

 

It’s Not Your Star Wars…

Written by Dan Massey

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away… People used to behave in a decent respectable way towards each other.

There has been a tonne of furore of late regarding ‘Star Wars’; the films and the fandom. More specifically, the treatment of talented actors, directors, producers and crew behind the latest installments in the ‘Star Wars’ legacy since it’s sale to Disney. Particularly post ‘The Last Jedi’, and pre the release of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, the atmosphere has reached toxic levels. The treatment of Rian Johnson, Kelly Marie Tran & Daisy Ridley, amongst others (but who I see targeted the most) is nothing short of disgusting and shameful. The idea to boycott a ‘Star Wars’ movie to prove a point and hurt the company and talent producing it is sad, especially from so called ‘fans’, who in truth are only doing themselves out of seeing a fun ‘Star Wars’ film on the big screen.

The reality breaks down like this; it’s absolutely fine to dislike a film, to criticise a story, character or a performance. It’s not ok to harass, bully and abuse hard working people who worked on those films.

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Yet all this got me thinking, what really are the issues the fandom has with the Disney iterations of ‘Star Wars’? The answers are complex and varied. A common criticism of ‘The Force Awakens’ was that it was a rehash of ‘A New Hope’. One of the most common criticisms of ‘The Last Jedi’ was that it was too different, a total disregard for the structure and lore of ‘Star Wars’. Another common theme amongst those who dislike everything Star Wars has done since TFA, is that “diversity and ‘social justice warrior-ism’ is being forced down our throats”.

A female protagonist? A black protagonist? An apparently sexually-ambiguous character? A female stormtrooper captain? A feminist, equal-rights focused droid? Asian and Mexican characters?

Well, that’s crazy, unrealistic and only included to force diversity upon us, let’s go back to the original films where all was good, men dominated the screen time and the Admiral of the resistance army was a fucking fish. Seriously, it’s a movie containing all kinds of Alien races, so let’s not get caught up on the race, gender and sexuality of the characters being unrealistic. It’s tiring, and while you aren’t racist or misogynistic if you dislike these films, you probably are if your reason for disliking these films is because of the inclusion of POC and female actors getting bigger, more important roles.

The most disappointing thing about all this, in my opinion, is that ‘Star Wars’ has always had deep-rooted messages and themes about society, politics, inclusion, failure, redemption, balance and inner conflict. It always had an overriding message of hope. The newer films take these themes and crank them up further than their predecessors. That’s a good thing; and reflects that society today is more open-minded, inclusive and accepting. George Lucas’ original vision was to create something that could provide moral guidance, a sense of spirituality that could transcend religion;

I see Star Wars as taking all the issues that religion represents and trying to distill them down into a more modern and easily accessible construct […] I put the Force into the movie in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people”

Obviously, mentioning George Lucas brings up an important point in the discussion, ownership. Now, as fans, we’re all important. As people, all of our opinions matter. None of that gives you ownership of ‘Star Wars’. IT’S NOT YOUR STAR WARS. ‘Star Wars’ doesn’t exist to be what you want it to be, it exists to be what the creators wanted to be. ‘Star Wars’ owes you nothing, so boo-hoo if the story hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to in your own mind.

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Now, I was born after the OT, saw them and fell in love with them as a kid. I’m old enough to remember ‘The Phantom Menace’ being released in cinemas, the line going all the way down the road, everyone in costumes, a full 16 years after the release of ‘Return of the Jedi’. 16 years. And it actually wasn’t very good. None of the prequel trilogy was actually great, and that was George Lucas telling the story George Lucas wanted to tell. 16 years! So spare me the talk of Disney ruining SW with its story direction and release schedule. We’re getting great ‘Star Wars’ movies almost every year. It’s a huge galaxy, there’s a million stories to tell, as long as the films are good and fun, there should be no issue. Who cares who makes them, so long as they’re good. George Lucas gave us three amazing films, followed by 3 average films and Jar Jar Binks.

So let’s look at the aforementioned issues; TFA being too similar to past ‘Star Wars’ stories. Lucas himself said that the stories always repeat, because that’s human nature. That was his vision for the expanded ‘Star Wars’ galaxy over time; and they do. Luke, a poor boy from nowhere, had incredible Force powers, and rose up to become the galaxies great hope against the evil of the Empire. In the prequel trilogy, Anakin, a poor orphan boy from nowhere, had incredible Force powers and rose up to become the galaxies greatest hope before succumbing to the Dark Side and becoming the greatest evil in the galaxy. TFA, Rey, a poor orphan girl has incredible Force powers, rises up to become the next great hope against the evil of the First Order. You could even make a prequel trilogy about Ben Solo’s rise and fall into Kylo Ren. That’s how in-sync the stories are. AND IT’S EXACTLY AS GEORGE LUCAS INTENDED IT.

Yet, it’s different. The themes of balance are much more present. Internal conflict, not only in force-sensitive people, but in a stormtrooper? The mindless soldiers of the Empire/First Order. That alone raised so many exciting new questions and possibilities, the exploration of the moral compass and conscience of Finn has been fantastic and fresh. Kylo Ren explores the inner conflict and pull of the light and dark more than any other character in previous ‘Star Wars’ films. It’s different because it’s more in touch with modern world views. It’s different because it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been or what you’re past is.

“Let the past die, kill it if you must”.

That line, apply it to the original films. The Skywalkers? The last of that bloodline is now Kylo Ren. Rey? A nobody. Snoke, unimportant, didn’t matter. Bold new steps in the way we tell ‘Star Wars’ stories, yet in line with how we tell Star Wars stories. It completely drives the saga in new directions while being faithful to the original ideals. Good vs bad, balance, inner conflict and redemption.

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In terms of Rey being a ‘Mary Sue’, why does nobody ever mention that Luke is the biggest Mary Sue of them all? He’s amazing at everything and quite easily dispels the pull of the Dark Side without a tonne of effort or sacrifice. I love that ‘The Last Jedi’ particularly explores the idea of Luke as a failure, to himself and to Ben, and the wider universe by his self-imposed exile. I love that there’s redemption for Luke, and his death is a sacrifice after finding inner peace and faith in the force again, knowing that Rey will restore balance and be the light vs Kylo’s dark. A large part of why I love that is because it’s such a fresh take on a central ‘Star Wars’ theme, failure. Obi Wan failed Anakin, and ultimately, he paid the price. His death was sacrificial, but willing, as he had found inner peace, and knew Luke would take up the mantle for the light vs the darkness.

Ultimately, ‘Star Wars’ doesn’t owe anyone anything, it’s not your ‘Star Wars’,  and people should be grateful that we get so much good SW content so often these days, whether it matches how it should of been in your head or not. Trust me, its better than waiting a decade and a half for a movie that didn’t match what you expected. But even when the prequel trilogy didn’t hold up in quality compared to the OT, that was fine. Agree to disagree, discuss what you’d have preferred and your critiques by all means. But, above all, be a decent person and resist the dark side of online abuse and bullying.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or discuss with us over on Twitter – @JUMPCUT_ONLINE

 

Weekend BO Predictions: Han And The Gang Ride Solo This Weekend As The Lone Release Aims For The Top Spot

 

Written by Dapo Olowu

The blockbusters just keep coming. Following the Marvel double of ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Deadpool’ gracing our screens in recent weeks, it’s Lucasfilm’s turn to provide the masses with film fodder, as ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ looks to break a Memorial Day opening weekend record and maintain the ‘Star Wars’ brand as Box Office dynamite. Meanwhile, ‘Deadpool 2’ looks to gain ground on its predecessor, and ‘Infinity War’ edges closer to $1.9bn globally – but will this holiday weekend grant their wishes?

So, what’s opening this weekend?

Much has been made of the production of ‘Solo’ – the rumours alone could provide quite a compelling behind-the-scenes documentary (get on it, Disney). If the story wasn’t the strange late promotional push for the film (we got its first trailer during February’s SuperBowl), it was about the on-set troubles, resulting in a directorial change and around 80% of the film reshot. The media, fans, and the general public had every right to ask questions; the reshoots alone almost doubled the budget, giving the film a rumoured cost of $250m – the most expensive ‘Star Wars’ film of all time. Ron Howard’s efforts led the film, based on beloved smuggler Han Solo, to an okay 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, placing it between ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘Attack of the Clones’ as the 8th best (or 4th worst) received in the franchise.

The release date wasn’t seen to be a great idea, either.

Moving the release from its now-expected December slot (which this year, by the way, is full of competition like ‘Aquaman’ andMary Poppins Returns’) to May meant that its battling ‘Deadpool 2’s second weekend, as well as ‘Infinity War’, currently the 4th biggest film ever. This, remember, comes just 5 months after the release of ‘The Last Jedi’, one of the most polarising blockbusters in history; a film that left as many ‘Star Wars’ fans jumping for joy as it left others enraged. Coupled with the fact that Disney’s recent Memorial Day weekend history (‘Tomorrowland’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’, ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’) have all flopped to varying degrees, it’s very likely that this’ll be the lowest Star Wars opening of the Disney era. ‘Solo’ probably won’t even reach the $1bn mark – a milestone every ‘Star Wars’ film (adjusted for inflation) has achieved – especially with China’s growing dislike of the films.

The 4-day weekend does provide a platform for the film to attract a summer crowd and boost those opening numbers, but there’s a sense of dread with this film that I haven’t felt for a movie in a franchise since ‘Justice League’ opened to a lowly $93.8m in November. The 4-day weekend record of $139.8m set by ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’, way back in 2007, is out of the question, with ‘Solo’ looking to miss the $100m mark in its first 3 days. A bit of maths would tell you that historically, this weekend’s extra day gives around a 20-22% bump from the 3-day total. So, if our estimates are correct, and we’re looking at ‘Solo’ opening close to ‘Days of Future Past’, a 3-day total of $85m for the first 3 days, and thus around $103.7m for its 4-day weekend. Make no mistake about it. This is bad news.

What else is showing?

After failing to break its own R-rated opening weekend record in the States last weekend, ‘Deadpool 2’ now has to contend with ‘Solo’ potentially attracting chunks of its audience, as well as the dreaded front-loaded sequel effect, where the second weekend drop increases from the previous film, due to the stronger fanbase clambering to see the film in its first week. Although holiday will help it regain some ground on ‘Deadpool’, I can see ‘Deadpool 2’ dropping close to 60% this weekend, for a total close to $53m. Another major film to potentially suffer at the hands of ‘Star Wars’ is ‘Infinity War’, which will be enjoying its 5th weekend of release in 3rd place. A 50% drop is on the cards but that won’t matter too much as $1.9bn will be reached in the next few days. After that, ‘Infinity War’ will be closing in on hitting $2bn and may even snatch 3rd place on the all-time list away from ‘The Force Awakens’.

The counter-programming angle has worked well for Paramount this year thus far, with ‘Book Club’ catering to a crowd not historically all-too-fond of spaceships, foul-mouthed anti-heroes, and giant purple monsters with gold gauntlets. From this, we expect a strong hold in its 2nd weekend, similar to ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’s -37% drop, for a total of around $9m. With that, it’ll reach $30m domestic, with releases in mainland Europe next week to come. Comedy ‘Life of the Party’ should fair slightly better this weekend than last with $3.8m, a 50% fall from last week’s poor showing.

Next is ‘Show Dogs’, which opened very similarly last weekend to another recent anthropomorphic flop ‘Nine Lives’. If that panned flick was anything to go by, ‘Show Dogs’ will be bringing in a paltry $2.8m in its second weekend. This will be closely followed by ‘Breaking In’, which looks to have another 60%-ish fall ($2.7m), and ‘A Quiet Place’, which still has a firm grip on the top ten with a $2.6m gross. With a $300m global take (enough for 9th place worldwide), the film’s also the 5th biggest horror in American history.

Finally, ‘Overboard’ will start to seriously haemorrhage screens to make way for the blockbusters, but will gross a respectable $2.4m, and ‘RBG’ should arise from the ashes to claim 10th spot with around $1m.

What do you think? Will ‘Solo’ get the record? Do you fancy ‘Infinity War’ to beat ‘The Force Awakens’? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

 

Rank Last Week’s Rank Film US Gross so far Budget Jumpcut’s prediction Weekend drop Week no. BoxOfficeMojo’s prediction Deadline’s Prediction Variety’s Prediction
1 Solo: A Star Wars Story $250m $85m

($103.7m 4-day)

1 $108m ($134.2m 4-day) $135m-$170m (4-day) $130m-$150m (4-day)
2 1 Deadpool 2 $158m $110m $53m -58% 2 $53.5m $56m $50m-$60m
3 2 Infinity War $603.3m $300m $14.7m -50% 5 $17.5m
4 3 Book Club $20.3m $10m $9m -34% 2 $10m
5 4 Life of the Party $33.4m $30m $3.8m -50% 3 $4.2m
6 6 Show Dogs $7.3m $5.5m $2.8m -53% 2 $4.4m
7 5 Breaking In $31.1m $6m $2.7m -60% 3 $3.2m
8 8 A Quiet Place $177.4m $17m $2.6m -34% 8 $2.3m
9 7 Overboard $38.2m $12m $2.4m -48% 4 $2.1m
10 12 RBG $4.4m $1m -20% 4 $1.1m

 

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Year: 2018
Directed by: Ron Howard
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany, Joonas Suotamo, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Written by Chris Gelderd

In 10 films spanning 41 years, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ is the first of the franchise that started and ended production under a big black cloud. Original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, wanting to make a “space comedy” were let go just 6 months into production due to creative differences. Acclaimed director Ron Howard came on weeks later to carry the film forward. Following that, extensive re-shoots were carried out to shape the film into the vision Howard and LucasFilm intended.

But before all this happened, the fans and critics were divided. Do we need or even want a film about a young Han Solo, a character immortalised in three films by Harrison Ford. Does the story of how he became the roguish smuggler and pilot with a bounty on his head and a large walking carpet as a friend need to be told? Who will ever be as talented and physically similar like Ford to pull this off? Will this fit into the wider Star Wars timeline or just be totally unique?

These questions never went away, and coupled with the rumours and hear-say and negative views on the production, it’s safe to say ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ has had a mountain to climb just to get where it is today and win over audiences and critics alike.

Well, you can forget the woes about a trouble production and leave your picky questions at home because this space Western is slick, stylish and shows no sign of trouble at all. It’s a fun and light-hearted space adventure, just the sort George Lucas envisioned back in 1977. There is no dark, brooding conflict and mystical power hanging over the story – not to say there isn’t plenty of menace – and there are no Jedi Knights, Force powers and tedious links to the Skywalker story. This is how Han became Solo.

Think of it as a watered down ‘Casino Royale’ for all generations.

From the outset, Alden Ehrenreich had near impossible shoes to fill. Yet to enjoy his performance, we owe it to this talented actor to see he is portraying not Harrison Ford, but Han Solo. A character we know nothing about at this young age. Yes, it’s hard not to look for Ford in him, but if you look BEYOND the man he becomes, you enjoy him all the more for it. Alden bleeds Ford’s mannerisms in subtly, such as his stance, the way he fires his blaster and that dry sense of humour starting to form. He carries the film and proves that he was the right choice to cast.

Emilia Clarke is a little hard to buy into at first, and she only comes to life more in the second half. She may be a talent on the small screen, but somehow her presence on the big screen never leaps at you and she’s just a little forgetful for most of the time, and you don’t buy her relationship with Han as much as you probably should. Paul Bettany is our merciless villain, and while he also is a little glossed over sadly, he commands much of the threat our heroes face in the film and it’s refreshing to NOT be an Imperial officer or a Sith Lord as the bad guy.

Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, equally having a big character to represent like Solo, does a fine job here. He’s smooth, charming and equally proud to look good and fight the good fight. The film could have benefited from more of his friendship with Solo to blossom, because you’re left wondering is this it? Is this the last time they see each other until the frosty reunion of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ a good 15 or so years later? You probably expected more, but you at least get to understand Lando’s ESB greeting of “Why you slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler!”

Chewbacca finally comes to life more than ever after six films and he really does what you’d expect from a Wookiee here, in more ways than one. Seeing the beginning and formation of a life-long friendship is wonderful to see, and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing Han and Chewie together doing what they do best. Joonas Suotamo, a more than worthy successor to Peter Mayhew, does a brilliant job.

One of the best performances comes from Woody Harrelson as Beckett; a mentor, gun-slinger, smuggler and outlaw. He’s the one who guides us and Han into the world of crime and also the real dangers that the galaxy throws at you. Harrelson is instantly likeable and really looks the part, spinning those blasters and leading his crew into battle. He’s having a blast, and it shows. It’s clear all the cast are enjoying themselves in these iconic roles and situations, and that makes it easy to invest in to have fun too, but some seem to enter and exit the film quicker than you’d expect.

Characters drive the film, and they are key in making it flow. While the run time is not too hefty, and certainly doesn’t drag, the story stumbles a little in the first act. It tries to find its feet, which may be evidence of the production woes.  Another slight irk is the humour; it’s not silly humour at all but sometimes you get the feeling the script is trying too hard to be funny when it doesn’t need to be. Phoebe Waller-Bridge as droid L3-37 is a highly off-putting and pointless character. When she speaks, the attitude and humour doesn’t seem fit for a Star Wars film. Something about her portrayal and character didn’t sit with me – it certainly wasn’t funny.

Once Howard does establish the story and the tone, it takes off a lot quicker. The story zips to various new planets in a blend of genres – from crime to drama to Western and sci-fi opera – to deliver something that adds nothing new to the timeline, but lets us have some fun out there without the need for Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker or the importance of civil wars being the focus point.

The action is slick and well executed, and the visual effects are spot-on. One bonus is that Howard seems to opt for more practical sets and action over CGI, and that adds to a much more real looking universe. From the slums of Corellia, to the dunes of Savareen and the nightmarish vortex of the Kessel Run, this is Star Wars at its finest, adventure planet-hopping best. It may be hard to adjust to a Star Wars film where Stormtroopers aren’t the main bad guys and the faceless Empire doesn’t do much or you see nothing of the Rebellion, but this is why the film is much braver than it appears.

It takes risks, it forces us to buy into a new idea and wants us to do nothing but enjoy the ride. Han Solo is just warming up and I want to see where he goes from here.

Is this a Star Wars film we needed in the timeline? Not really, but I’m glad we have it because Ron Howard just whetted my appetite for more of this sort of anthology film away from the ‘Episodes’. And on the basis of a certain cameo towards the end, the timeline just got a whole lot spicier!

Chris’ Rating: 

4

First Reactions to ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Build Fans’ Excitement

The world premiere of the latest ‘Star Wars’ spin-off, ‘Solo’, took place last night and the buzz this morning from lucky fans and critics who were in attendance finally seems to have built up some excitement amongst fans.

Due to drama behind the scenes, which included the firing or Lord and Miller (who were later replaced by Ron Howard), fans were skeptical that that the end product would meet any of their expectations. Rumours have constantly reared their ugly head over the last few months regarding the state of the film, but if these first reactions are anything to go by, fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

There was plenty said on social media about Ehrenreich when the news broke he was cast as the young Han Solo, but his performance is being hailed as “super impressive” and going as far as to say he was “perfectly cast”.  This kind of reaction will be sure to pique the interest of those stubborn few who would have just preferred a 75 year old Harrison Ford to play the role himself.

As expected, the audience appear to have fallen head over heals for Donald Glover as Lando, and there’s lots of love for his tin-can sidekick, L3, played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Early reactions also suggest there are lots of surprises in store for us that Howard and co. have managed to somehow keep top secret – lets just hope no one out there decides to spoil these before its release!

For now, he’s some spoiler free reactions!

New Action Packed ‘Solo: A Star Wars Trailer’ Has Dropped!

“Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the ‘Star Wars’ saga’s most unlikely heroes”

Directed by: Ron Howard

Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton

Release Date: May 25th, 2018