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Avi Arad on the “Uncharted” movie and why he passed on “Halo”

uncharted

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It’s no secret that veteran movie and television producer Avi Arad has played an important role — possibly one of the most important — in bringing comic book movies to the point they are today. Not only did the former CEO and founder of Marvel Studios help bring Marvel out of bankruptcy in the late ’90s, but his efforts to bring Marvel superheroes from the page to the screen paved the way for much of the characters’ rise to mainstream prominence in recent years.

Over the weekend, Arad was in town promoting his latest page-to-screen project, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” a reboot of the popular Marvel Comics character’s big-screen franchise that casts Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”) as wall-crawling, web-slinging nerdy superhero Peter Parker. Along with telling IFC all about the new film — which is directed by “500 Days of Summer” filmmaker Marc Webb — Arad also shared some thoughts with IFC about the other genre he’s been mining for movie projects lately: video games.

Keep an eye on IFC.com as we get closer to the July 3 premiere of “The Amazing Spider-Man” for more on the webslinger’s return to the screen, but with Arad currently nudging along films based on popular games like “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune,” “Infamous,” “Twisted Metal,” and possibly “Metal Gear Solid,” we couldn’t help picking the producer’s brain on the appeal of games as source material and where some of these projects are at right now.

“I think what will happen with ‘Uncharted’ is that it will be the first of many, because it will be so fun and [I think it will be] a very big movie,” Arad told IFC. “So the floodgates will open.”

The award-winning “Uncharted” franchise follows the adventures of a treasure hunter named Nathan Drake who travels around the world with his pal Victor “Sully” Sullivan. An “Uncharted” movie has been in development for several years now, with “Limitless” director Neil Burger attached to the project since July 2011.

“We have a great director,” said Arad of the film. “So in anticipation, I’m accumulating the kind of games that I’m personally interested in from a story standpoint. They have to have a story.”

According to Arad, the presence of a strong narrative thread has often been the deciding factor in which games he pursues for the big screen, and which ones he’s content to pass over. And just because a game sells well, that doesn’t mean it makes sense as a movie.

“My problem with the ‘Halo‘ games was that there was no face anywhere,” he said of his decision not to pursue a big-screen version of the wildly popular “Halo” franchise. “I didn’t know what to do with it. I thought about it a lot, because commercially it was huge. But when I look at things like ‘Metal Gear Solid’ and I’m reading the bible for it, and there’s this Cain and Abel story and all this shit, I’m like, ‘Now, that is a movie!'”

“But ‘Uncharted’ was very natural, because it’s about historical things.” he continued. “Emotionally, there was a very simple story about a boy searching for something, who had no origin, in a way. He was a street rat. And just like my mother used to tell me that 500 years ago we were princes in another country, someone told [Nathan Drake] something that he could hold on to. That makes for enough emotion to make a fun story.”

Arad also touched on the difficulty of adapting certain types of games — specifically, first-person shooters.

“Sometimes I would find that video games lacked one particular component: the definition of the hero of the game,” he explained. “And that’s because you are that character — especially with the first-person shooters.”

Still, there are certain elements of the modern gaming scene that have actually made it easier for projects to make the leap from the gaming world to Hollywood, said Arad. And more and more often, he finds himself looking to the gaming industry as often as the comic-book world for the next big thing.

“With the cinematics in games today, I could easily cut a long trailer — a 70-minute animated presentation — just from the cinematics in these games,” he laughed. “So video games are already primed to be the next source material.”

“And I hope I’m right again,” he added.

Is there a video game you’d like to see adapted into a movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Underworld

Under Your Spell

10 Otherworldly Romances That’ll Melt Your Heart

Spend Valentine's Day weekend with IFC's Underworld movie marathon.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection

Romance takes many forms, and that is especially true when you have a thirst for blood or laser beams coming out of your eyes.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a werewolf, a superhero, a clone, a time-traveler, or a vampire, love is the one thing that infects us all.  Read on to find out why Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these supernatural star-crossed lovers, and be sure to catch IFC’s Underworld movie marathon this Valentine’s Day weekend.

1. Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine, X-Men series

The X-Men franchise is rife with romance, but the steamiest “ménage à mutant” may just be the one between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Their triangle is a complicated one as Jean finds herself torn between the two very different men while also trying to control her darker side, the Phoenix. This leads to Jean killing Cyclops and eventually getting stabbed through her heart by Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. Yikes!  Maybe they should change the name to Ex-Men instead?


2. Willow/Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon gave audiences some great romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — including the central triangle of Buffy, Angel, and Spike — but it was the love between witches Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) that broke new ground for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a LGBT relationship.

Willow is smart and confident and isn’t even sure of her sexuality when she first meets Tara at college in a Wiccan campus group. As the two begin experimenting with spells, they realize they’re also falling for one another and become the show’s most enduring, happy couple. At least until Tara’s death in season six, a moment that still brings on the feels.


3. Selene/Michael, Underworld series

The Twilight gang pales in comparison (both literally and metaphorically) to the Lycans and Vampires of the stylish Underworld franchise. If you’re looking for an epic vampire/werewolf romance set amidst an epic vampire/werewolf war, Underworld handily delivers in the form of leather catsuited Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and shaggy blonde hunk Michael (a post-Felicity Scott Speedman). As they work together to stop the Vampire/Lycan war, they give into their passions while also kicking butt in skintight leather. Love at first bite indeed.


4. Spider-man/Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man

After rushing to the aid of beautiful girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the Amazing Spider-man is rewarded with an upside-down kiss that is still one of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the shy, lovable dork beneath the mask, his rain-soaked makeout session is the culmination of years of unrequited love and one very powerful spider bite. As the films progress, Peter tries pushing MJ away in an attempt to protect her from his enemies, but their web of love is just too powerful. And you know, with great power, comes great responsibility.


5. Molly/Sam, Ghost

When it comes to supernatural romance, you really can’t beat Molly and Sam from the 1990 hit film Ghost. Demi Moore goes crazy for Swayze like the rest of us, and the pair make pottery sexier than it’s ever been.

When Sam is murdered, he’s forced to communicate through con artist turned real psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award-winning role) to warn Molly she is still in danger from his co-worker, Carl (a pre-Scandal Tony Goldwyn). Molly doesn’t believe Oda is telling the truth, so Sam proves it by sliding a penny up the wall and then possessing Oda so he and Molly can share one last romantic dance together (but not the dirty kind). We’d pay a penny for a dance with Patrick Swayze ANY day.


6. Cosima/Delphine, Orphan Black

It stands to reason there would be at least one complicated romance on a show about clones, and none more complicated than the one between clone Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black.

Cosima is a PhD student focusing on evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota when she meets Delphine, a research associate from the nefarious Dyad Institute, posing as a fellow immunology student. The two fall in love, but their happiness is brief once Dyad and the other members of Clone Club get involved. Here’s hoping Cosima finds love in season four of Orphan Black. Girlfriend could use a break.


7. Aragorn/Arwen, Lord of the Rings

On a picturesque bridge in Rivendell amidst some stellar mood-lighting and dreamy Elvish language with English subtitles for us non-Middle Earthlings, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) bind their souls to one another, pledging to love each other no matter what befalls them.

Their courtship is a matter of contention with Arwen’s father, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who doesn’t wish to see his daughter suffer over Aragorn’s future death. The two marry after the conclusion of the War of the Ring, with Aragorn assuming his throne as King of Gondor, and Arwen forgoing her immortality to become his Queen. Is it too much to assume they asked Frodo to be their wedding ring-bearer?


8. Lafayette/Jesus, True Blood

True Blood quickly became the go-to show for supernatural sex scenes featuring future Magic Mike strippers (Joe Manganiello) and pale Nordic men with washboard abs (Hi Alexander Skarsgård!), but honestly, there was a little something for everyone, including fan favorite Bon Temps medium, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis).

In season three, Lafayette met his mother’s nurse, Jesus, and the two began a relationship. As they spend more time together and start doing V (short for Vampire Blood), they learn Jesus is descended from a long line of witches and that Lafayette himself has magical abilities. However, supernatural love is anything but simple, and after the pair join a coven, Lafayette becomes possessed by the dead spirit of its former leader. This relationship certainly puts a whole new spin on possessive love.


9. Nymphadora Tonks/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter series

There are lots of sad characters in the Harry Potter series, but Remus Lupin ranks among the saddest. He was bitten by a werewolf as a child, his best friend was murdered and his other best friend was wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban for it, then THAT best friend was killed by a Death Eater at the Ministry of Magic as Remus looked on. So when Lupin unexpectedly found himself in love with badass Auror and Metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (she prefers to be called by her surname ONLY, thank you very much), pretty much everyone, including Lupin himself, was both elated and cautiously hopeful about their romance and eventual marriage.

Sadly, the pair met a tragic ending when both were killed by Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son, Teddy, orphaned much like his godfather Harry Potter. Accio hankies!


10. The Doctor/Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Speaking of wolves, Rose “Bad Wolf” Tyler (Billie Piper) captured the Doctor’s hearts from the moment he told her to “Run!” in the very first episode of the re-booted Doctor Who series. Their affection for one another grew steadily deeper during their travels in the TARDIS, whether they were stuck in 1950s London, facing down pure evil in the Satan Pit, or battling Cybermen.

But their relationship took a tragic turn during the season two finale episode, “Doomsday,” when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose found themselves separated in parallel universes with no way of being reunited (lest two universes collapse as a result of a paradox). A sobbing Rose told a holographic transmission of the Doctor she loved him, but before he could reply, the transmission cut out, leaving our beloved Time Lord (and most of the audience) with a tear-stained face and two broken hearts all alone in the TARDIS.

The Lizard heads to Oscorp in new “The Amazing Spider-Man” clip

The Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man

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A new clip from “The Amazing Spider-Man” debuted on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” last night and features a sequence showing The Lizard coming to Oscorp. It’s pretty badass, so we would say it’s even worth listening to three minutes of Jay Leno just to get to it. Emma Stone manages to make it all worthwhile, and somehow during that period of time she makes watching Nickelodeon show “iCarly” seem like the most interesting show we ever had no interest in seeing.

This clip seems to take place towards the end of the movie, based on the dramatic music and the fact that Dr. Curt Connors is already mutated. We love the tension in the scene, and the way it showcases Peter Parker’s relationship with Gwen Stacy. It’s clear from this that she’s no damsel in distress, and Stone’s strength as an actress makes Gwen’s decision to put herself in danger seems brave instead of idiotic. Everything new we see of Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman makes us more and more invested in his version of the character, and that can be said about this clip as well.

And now at least we know where this still came from.

Starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, “The Amazing Spider-Man” focuses on Peter Parker’s journey to discover the secret of his parents’ early death. That brings him face-to-face with Dr. Curt Connors, played by Rhys Ifans, who ends up becoming the film’s villain, The Lizard. It’s due in theaters on July 3.

What did you think of this new clip? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” pictures show off the Lizard

The Lizard from Amazing Spider-Man

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There’s plenty to be excited about in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” but the element of the movie that we’re most interested in is the Lizard. And the folks at Sony know it, too.

Though we’ve had teases of the movie’s villain in trailers, promos and photos, but we’ve never seen him clearly. This newest image from Entertainment Weekly (via ComingSoon.net) is the closest we’ve come to seeing him face-to-face.

Of course, it’s his face behind some blinds, but that’s just semantics. EW has two more pictures as well, including an image of Emma Stone looking pretty concerned as she gazes at a giant, Lizard-shaped hole in one of her high school classrooms. The last picture shows Dr. Curt Connors seemingly going through his Lizard transformation.

When Marc Webb recently discussed Rhys Ifans’ take on the Lizard, he said his goal was to make him be as nuanced as possible.

“In the comics there are different incarnations of the Lizard. There’s the MacFarlane one, which has the snout, but I was interested more in finding something that could relate human emotions,” he said. “So Rhys’s performance is giving that nuance, getting the eyebrow tics and the looks. Creating an armature that can actually speak and lips that make sounds. It’s a very detailed and, frankly, tedious process. I really wanted to capture emotion.”

Starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, “The Amazing Spider-Man” focuses on Peter Parker’s journey to discover the secret of his parents’ early death. That brings him face-to-face with Dr. Curt Connors, played by Rhys Ifans, who ends up becoming the film’s villain, The Lizard. It’s due in theaters on July 3.

A scene from Amazing Spider-Man

A scene from Amazing Spider-Man

A scene from Amazing Spider-Man

What did you think of these new images? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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