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film: Killer Elite inspired by a non-fiction account of British special forces in the Middle East
Killer Elite pits Jason statham, left, against Clive Owen in a 1970s/1980s-era thriller. Killer Elite headlined the toronto international Film Festival, along with intruders, another film that Owen starred in.
Owen continues body count in Killer Elite
KEViN WilliaMsON QMI Agency In Killer Elite, Jason Statham battles Clive Owen’s facial hair. No, it doesn’t sound like a fair fight to us either. “I take full responsibility for it,” says a now-clean-shaven Owen of his unfortunate moustache. “In my defense, if you look at pictures of the U.K. from that period, everyone had one.” Sure, but everyone had a van too. Does that make it right? Anyway. Opening Friday, the 1970s/1980s-era thriller casts Statham and Owen as retired assassins pitted against each other during the waning days of Burt Reynolds’ career. Oh, and the Cold War was winding down too. Invariably this requires the two actors to pummel, kick and chop each other into bloody near-oblivion. Statham, of course, could snap your neck with a significant glare. Owen — slab of lip bristles or not — is no slouch either, having compiled impressive body counts in such films as Sin City, The International and King Arthur. “I approach those scenes like a dialogue scene. You want them to be totally believable
the thing that fascinated me was that thing about what happens to (sAs soldiers) after they leave ... they’re trying to live a normal life but no one around them really understands what they’ve been through.”
and be logical. They’re acting as much as anything. It’s great to do a fight scene with someone like Jason because he’s so good at that stuff and it’s a big strength of his. And technically, I’m pretty good. And when you’ve got
two guys who are good at that and you can trust each other, you can really go for it.” Still, the action wasn’t what attracted Owen to the story. “The thing that fascinated me was that thing about
what happens to (SAS soldiers) after they leave ... They’re trying to live a normal life but no one around them really u n d e r s t a n d s w hat t h e y ’v e been through.” He says the movie, inspired by a non-fiction account of British special forces in the Middle East, is “morally ambiguous throughout. It’s not a good guy/bad guy film.” Ki l l e r E l i t e w a s o n e o f two films Owen headlined at t h i s m o n t h’s To r o n t o International Film Festival, the other being the supernatural shocker Intruders. Indeed, few actors have been as pro-
lific as the 46-year-old since his breakthrough in 1998’s Croupier. So understandably, he’s now looking forward to a break. “It’s going to be great to just spend time with the kids,” says Owen, who has two daughters, ages 14 and 11, with his wife, Sarah-Jane Fenton. “I travel so much and do so much that when there’s down time, it’s about doing as much with them as possible. I can take them to school and have some proper time with them for awhile.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Trailer Park director gets dramatic
JiM slOtEK QMI Agency
film: Clattenburg happy to leave faux documentary genre behind
the Office premier starts off with ominous employee list
Bill Harris QMI Agency James Spader’s character on The Office is terrifying. The denizens of Dunder Mifflin are intimidated by Robert California (great name). And who wouldn’t be? “I think he’s misinterpreted a lot,” Spader said. Well, there’s plenty of terror and intimidation and misinterpretation as the eighth season of The Office begins Thursday on NBC and Global. The first episode of the new campaign is called The List. Sounds ominous. When Robert California stops by for the first time as CEO of Sabre — Dunder Mifflin’s parent company — he accidentally leaves behind a mysterious list of the employees’ names, divided down the middle. As you would expect from this paranoid crew, everyone frantically tries to figure out what the list means. Robert California first appeared in the seventh-season finale, where he interviewed to replace Michael Scott (Steve Carell) as manager of Dunder Mifflin. Instead, Robert has secured a much higher position, replacing Jo (Kathy Bates) as CEO. Therefore, it also will be revealed in The List who the new manager of Dunder Mifflin is. But you know, the buzz over who that will be has dissipated sudden, out of the blue, they sent over (a script for) an episode. We hadn’t even really talked about The Office when we chatted. But they called up and said, ‘We’ve written a role that we’d love you to do in the (seventh-season) finale, we’re having a bunch of different people come in.’ “It was so funny, I thought it would be great fun. They said, ‘No obligation, just for the fun of it, come and do it.’ ” Spader thought of it as a one-off. But then he started getting more phone calls from the makers of The Office when they began to edit the episode, telling him how well it was turning out. “Then it aired, and they called back and said, ‘We want to have the character back so badly, can we at least start talking about that?’ ” Spader recalled. “And we did. And now here we are. “So it all happened rather sporadically, you know, very spontaneously.” Post-Carell, it’s an open debate as to how much life The Office has left. Perhaps the perfect point to end this beloved series would have been with that funny and touching episode when Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) got married in Niagara Falls. Anyway, for now, The Office is looking ahead with James Spader. Consider it (Robert) California dreamin’ . email@example.com
tv: Spader stepping in as CEO, but manager of Dunder Mifflin still a mystery
When people watch Afghan Luke — Mike Clattenburg’s first post-Trailer Park Boys movie — he knows what they assume when they discover one of the characters is the Afghani Minister of Hash. “Probably somebody would think that the hash was my contribution to the script, or the swearing,” the TPB creator says. “But that was Patrick Graham,” he says of the co-writer of the seriocomic story of an unembedded journalist (Nick Stahl) tracking down the story of a Canadian Forces sniper who collects Taliban fingers. “Patrick had been there. Afghan Luke was loosely based on his actual experiences. He was an unembedded journalist who was in Taliban territory wearing blue burkas (posing as a woman) while his fixer was smoking hash and they were arguing about what to do. “There’s so much hash in Afghanistan and everyone’s smoking it, including the Afghan army.” So even though he went his own way, turning down “a lot of scripts where some guys are growing pot and being chased by the law,” some element of Clattenburg’s previous oeuvre survived.
Craig rOBErtsON QMI Agency From left, director Mike Clattenburg and producer Barrie Dunn from the film afghan luke.
Still, the director was happy to leave the faux documentary genre behind. “When (co-writer) Barrie (Dunn) showed me the script that Patrick and Doug Bell had written, I knew I was looking at something different. It had a lot of empathy and humanized the conflict. I really loved doing Trailer Park Boys. But it was nice after 10 years of doing that doc stuff to put down the doc camera and shoot a story that was about 80% dramatic and 20% comedic. That really appealed to me.” Uh, comedy? “It really was the only approach to take,” he says. “For us to go in there making a sober, somber, melodramatic, moralistic, preachy, we-have-allthe-answers movie would be a big mistake. “One of the characters in the film says, ‘Afghans don’t know what’s going on over here. But you tourists come in for a few weeks and think you know everything.’ So for us to have taken an approach that has any answers would have just been wrong. “As Luke says at one point, ‘Believing there’s a solution (in Afghanistan) is half the problem.’ It’s an incomprehensible, bizarre complex world there that we can’t make sense of.” firstname.lastname@example.org
completely — looking back, we really don’t think this was handled particularly well from an “ongoing interest” perspective. Anyway, none of that has anything to do with Spader’s character in particular, who is quite hilarious in his own right. Spader’s ongoing involvement with The Office was not initially part of any grand plan, though. “I had met (co-executive producers) Greg Daniels and Paul Lieberstein (who also plays Toby) six months earlier, just to talk about long-range in terms of television,” said Spader, whose T V resume includes a long, award-winning run as Alan Shore on Boston Legal and The Practice. “They just seemed like people who would be great fun to work with at some point. Then all of a
Rapper Ice-T says new hip-hop artists lack edge
Ve t e ra n ra p p e r Ic e -T i s disappointed by the quality of modern hip-hop music and fears younger charts stars are just writing songs about “jewelry and cars.” The rapper/actor, who began his music career in the 1980s, is adamant the next generation of hip-hop wannabes should go back to their roots and rap about issues that matter, rather than focusing on trivia in their lyrics. However, Ice-T does reserve praise for one current chart star — Lupe Fiasco. He said, “Lupe Fiasco does it. I’ve listened to some of his stuff. He’s not afraid ...” — WENN
music: Next generation should rap about issues that matter
Couple’s kids pushing for Pitt and Jolie marriage
B ra d P i t t a n d A n g e l i n a Jolie’s kids are “putting the heat on” the celebrity couple to wed. In a taped interview for Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show, Pitt admits he and Jolie might have to make their romance official sooner than expected. Pitt and his partner previously insisted they will only wed when gay marriage is made legal across America but their children don’t want to wait for the laws to change. He says, “(But) the kids are putting on the heat. They really are. They are putting on the heat.” — WENN
celebrity: Superstar couple waiting for gay marriage to be legalized first
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