How far will an actor go to achieve perfection?

Image shows actor Christian Bale in a scene for the film The Machinist.
Image shows actor Christian Bale in a scene for the film The Machinist.

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For many actors, the role is more than just learning the lines. Actors are often required to push their bodies to the limits as well as prepare themselves mentally. The transformations that ensue are often quite staggering.

Christian Bale is a notable actor for transforming his body for a role. For several roles he has lost weight, built muscle and even gained weight. This constant fluctuation is certainly no easy feat. For his role in insomniac thriller, The Machinist, Christian Bale reportedly lost 28.5kg. To lose this weight, Christian relied on a strict diet of a single serving of fish and 1 piece of fruit a day. Currently, Christian holds the record for the most amount of weight lost for any role, and it certainly shows. His biggest achievement however, was for his next role.

After production was finished for The Machinist, Christian Bale was cast as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s reboot. Bale was tasked with reaching a typical Batman like physique something that wasn’t evident in The Machinist. A high carb diet and intensive muscle workouts results in Christian Bale gaining 44.9 KG over the course of production.

Recently, Christian had to get fatter for his role in American Hustle, eating an abundant amount of fast food. He certainly has quite the belly in the film.

In terms of mental preparation, the late Heath Ledger certainly wins the award for his commitment to the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Heath threw himself at the role of the main antagonist, locking himself in a room for weeks on end, with only himself for company. During this time, Heath Ledger wrote a diary and practiced his speech, really getting into character. One of his diary entries read that, “I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath – someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts.”

As his performance shows, Heath Ledger certainly grasped the character of the Joker including subtleties such as mannerisms and facial expression. I’m you’ll agree, the voice he used, is chilling and memorable to say the least. Speaking of which Heath Ledger is believed to have taken inspiration from an interview conducted with singer Tom Waits in 1979. You can certainly see the similarities in the interview below.

Acting isn’t just about saying the right lines for many actors. The lengths actors go to in order to achieve the perfect role is clearly extraordinary.


The game adaptation isn’t always as good as the movie

Image shows a screenshot of the video game, E.T The Extra Terrestrial.
Image shows a screenshot of the video game, E.T The Extra Terrestrial.

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Do you ever find that a brilliant film leaves a gap behind and you’re left wanting more? Video game adaptations should fill that hole but unfortunately they aren’t always what you’re looking for. Often the video game following the movie doesn’t live up to its silver screen counterpart. After all, what is seen as the worst video game ever made was in fact, a movie tie in game.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 was initially believed to become a very successful game, achieving high sales figures due to the connection with the film when it was released in December. But the E.T video game was a commercial failure with very few units sold. Why did it do so badly?

Initially planned to be an innovative companion to the movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial tasked players with moving the titular protagonist from a top down perspective through a variety of levels in order to locate pieces of a phone. Funnily enough, the objective of the game is to phone home.

Set back by poor controls and sub par graphics of the time, E.T. just didn’t sell as expected. Many believe it was a contributing factor to the video game industry crash in 1983, where there was a surplus in video game cartridges and consoles, the market was saturated. The unsold copies of E.T. are rumoured to be buried in New Mexico, as Atari had nowhere to store the cartridges.

Edit: The copies of E.T. have been found in Alamogordo, New Mexico after a recent excavation according to video game website, Kotaku.

Clearly, this didn’t set the bar high for video games that are tied in with movie releases. Since then, many of the games that have centered on recently released movies and typically, haven’t done all that great. Catwoman on the PlayStation 2 for instance, was atrocious, marred with clunky animations and god awful game mechanics. In the game, the character model barely resembled the lovely Halle Berry.

Movie tie in games have a (often true) reputation that they are rushed in order to coincide with the release of the movie. The big wigs tend to see them as cash grabs, something they can make some quick, easy money from, regardless of the quality.

However, not all video games that are tied with movie releases are bad. There are a few that are generally fairly entertaining and worth a mention. Spiderman 2 for the PlayStation 2 and original Xbox coincided with the release of Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 2 movie. The game allowed players complete freedom of exploration of New York City, with really well-crafted web swinging mechanics. Spiderman 2 the video game showed us that it’s certainly possible that movie video games can be done right, if care and attention is applied.

Image shows a screenshot of the video game, Spiderman 2

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Whilst you’re more than welcome to pick up a movie tie in video game, I recommended to make sure that you don’t go head first into your purchase and do your research beforehand! Check reviews from video game websites and others who have played the game. You don’t want to be spending your hard earned money on another game like E.T.

Weapons of choice

Pictured is an M60 light machine gun, made famous by the Rambo films.

Think of any action movie character and you’ll more than likely think of their favourite weapon of choice. The guns featured in film are more often than not more iconic than the character itself. Below we list just some of the many iconic film guns and their associated character.

pictured is the Spas-12 12 gauge shotgun, made famous by Robert Muldoon in the film Jurassic Park.

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Franchi SPAS-12
Made famous by: Robert Muldoon in Jurassic Park. (1993)

This shotgun is quite the ‘clever girl’. Most notably featured in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park film, this pump action, 12 gauge shotgun was pretty handy at taking out Velociraptors. First introduced in 1982 by Franchi S.p.A, this shotgun was initially developed to fire low pressure ammunition such as tear gas. The shotgun is still in use by military forces in Australia, Pakistan and Italy.

Pictured is the Desert Eagle semi automatic pistol, made famous by Agent Smith in the Matrix films.

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Desert Eagle Mark XIX
Made Famous by: Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy. (1999-2003)

There’s no doubt why the main antagonist in the Matrix films chose this as his weapon of choice. Dubbed by many as a ‘hand cannon’, the most recent model of the Desert Eagle semi-automatic pistol fires a .50 AE round, something much bigger in comparison to other pistol rounds.

Pictured is an M60 light machine gun, made famous by the Rambo films.

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Made famous by:
John Rambo in First Blood. (1982)

This Light Machine Gun weighs a hefty 10.5 kg and fires a 7.62x51mm NATO round. The M60 is belt fed, and can fire around 500 rounds per minute. The weapon first saw its introduction in the Vietnam war and has since been staple for the U.S army in combat since.

Pictured is the M9 Beretta semi automatic pistol, made famous by John McClane in the Die Hard films

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Beretta 92FS
Made famous by: John McClane in Die Hard. (1988)

This semi-automatic pistol was most notably used by John McClane, the main protagonist in the first Die Hard film. Chambering a typical 9mm round commonly found in semi-automatic pistols, the 92FS was manufactured by Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro. The Beretta 92FS is arguably the most commonly used pistol by military forces worldwide.

Image shows actor Arnold Schwarzenegger flexing his muscles.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s guns
Made famous by: 
Every film with Arnold Schwarzenegger.


John Williams, the man behind the music

Image shows composer John Williams conducting one of his many pieces.

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You probably already know by now who John Williams is. The famous composer has written more scores than you shake a musical stick at (or a conductor’s baton if you prefer). Most notable scores include Saving Private Ryan, Superman and my personal favourite, Jurassic Park. How did John Williams achieve such great recognition in the movie industry?

Born on February 8th 1932 in New York, to an already musical family, John Williams was destined for a life of music. Attending the University of California in 1952, John studied with Italian composer, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. His musical career had begun.

After his time at university John Williams worked as a jazz pianist, playing in many clubs in and around New York. He then worked on television production for shows such as Peter Gunn and Days of Wine and Roses. His first credited film score didn’t come until the 1960 film, Because They’re Young, moving away from his television work.

For many years, John was nominated for musical awards in film, but never took home an award. In many ways, it was director Steven Spielberg who introduced John Williams into the limelight. A then new director on the movie scene, Steven asked for John Williams to compose the score for his first film, The Sugarland Express. The film gained critical acclaim, and showcased the power the duo have in the movie industry.

Since then, John Williams has scored all but two of Spielberg’s movies, The Twilight Zone and The Color Purple being the only exceptions. In 1977, John Williams was approached by another up and coming director, George Lucas.

The director pitched the idea of a science fiction space opera titled, Star Wars. John happily accepted and his since provided the score for all subsequent sequels and prequels. The most distinguished score, “Force Theme” can be heard via the YouTube video below.

Surely, it must be a given that John Williams will be composing the score for the newly announced Star Wars trilogy?

John Williams has since composed the soundtrack for another series of George Lucas directed films, starring an archaeologist called Dr Henry Jones. Other notable film scores include the X-Men series, The Adventures of Tintin and the Harry Potter films.

During his career, John Williams has won 40 awards for his musical achievement in film and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end there. John has already started work on his composition for the upcoming Jurassic World and it looks more than likely that he’ll be composing the score for the new Star Wars films. May the score be with you John.