Geekscape http://www.geekscape.net podcasts, news, features Wed, 01 Apr 2015 07:03:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=485 podcasts, news, features Geekscape no podcasts, news, features Geekscape http://www.geekscape.net/_wp_/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.geekscape.net TV-G ‘Luke Cage’ To Premiere On Netflix In 2016, Cheo Hodari Coker Announced As Showrunner! http://www.geekscape.net/luke-cage-to-premiere-on-netflix-in-2016-cheo-hodari-coker-announced-as-showrunner http://www.geekscape.net/luke-cage-to-premiere-on-netflix-in-2016-cheo-hodari-coker-announced-as-showrunner#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 07:03:27 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86494 Briefly: Daredevil is just around the corner, A.K.A. Jessica Jones is well into production, and today Marvel announced that Cheo Hodari Coker has joined Luke Cage as series’ showrunner, and also that the series will debut in 2016.

Cheo has produced popular shows like Ray Donovan and Southland, for which he also won the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing for a Dramatic Series.

Here’s the full release, straight from Marvel:

Netflix & Marvel Television announced today that Cheo Hodari Coker will serve as executive producer and showrunner of the anticipated series, “Marvel’s Luke Cage.” Coker is writing the first two episodes of the series that will premiere in 2016, everywhere that Netflix is available.

 

Most recently, Coker served as a co-executive producer on the second season of “Ray Donovan,” and prior to that was a supervising producer on the critically-acclaimed, fourth season of the drama “SouthLAnd.” Coker was a part of the “SouthLAnd” team that earned the show a 2012 Peabody Award. Coker also garnered a 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing for a Dramatic Series for his work on that show. Coker’s feature film credits include Fox Searchlight’s rap biopic “Notorious.” He authored the book “Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of The Notorious B.I.G.” as well. Coker started his writing career in journalism and was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times and contributed to VIBE, Rolling Stone, Essence, among other publications. He is a graduate of Stanford University.

 

It was previously announced that Mike Colter (“The Good Wife,” “American Horror Story: Coven”) will play the charismatic lead character, Luke Cage, in the series.

 

“Marvel’s Luke Cage” is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios for Netflix.

It was revealed back in December that Colter (pictured below) would play Luke Cage, who will first appear in this year’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones.

Colter

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It Begins: Here’s The First Cast Photo From ‘Heroes Reborn’ http://www.geekscape.net/it-begins-heres-the-first-cast-photo-from-heroes-reborn http://www.geekscape.net/it-begins-heres-the-first-cast-photo-from-heroes-reborn#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 06:35:54 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86491 Briefly: As a huge fan of Heroes initial four season run (yes, I watched it all the way through), I was beyond excited when NBC announced Heroes Reborn in February of last year. The first series ended with an infuriating cliffhanger, and after a resolution was promised via a film, and then via comic book, and then essentially never spoken about again, I thought that surely the universe of Heroes was simply dead.

And then Heroes Reborn was announced, and people like Jack Coleman and Masi Oka were confirmed to return, and I’ve pretty much been squealing with anticipation ever since.

Today, newcomer Zachary Levi tweeted out the first cast photo from the 13-episode series (minus Masi Oka), and the return of one of my favourite shows (at least during a few of my teenage years) feels all the more real. Take a look at the photo below, and be sure to let us know if you’re looking forward to Heroes Reborn!

Yep, it’s really happening.

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‘Arrow’s Stephen Amell Is Casey Jones In ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2′ http://www.geekscape.net/arrows-stephen-amell-is-casey-jones-in-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-2 http://www.geekscape.net/arrows-stephen-amell-is-casey-jones-in-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-2#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 06:09:18 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86485 Briefly: Variety has learned that Arrow star and heartthrob Stephen Amell has been cast as Casey Jones in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel. More than six actors were said to have tested for the role, and Amell was apparently chosen due to his chemistry with Fox.

Details on the film are still few (it was first announced back in August), but both Megan Fox and Will Arnett are set to return, while Earth to Echo director Dave Green will take the reigns from Jonathan Liebesman.

I have to say that, while I was definitely not looking forward to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles last year, the film turned out to be a fun, yet forgettable time. It was almost, almost worth it for the cowabunga, don’t you agree?

Are you looking forward to the sequel? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

Casey

 

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Here’s The Gorgeous Full Trailer For ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’! http://www.geekscape.net/heres-the-gorgeous-full-trailer-for-mad-max-fury-road http://www.geekscape.net/heres-the-gorgeous-full-trailer-for-mad-max-fury-road#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:46:15 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86480 Briefly: Just yesterday Warner Bros. debuted three sexy new TV spots for next month’s Mad Max: Fury Road, and today they’ve debuted an absolutely gorgeous new trailer that’s chock-full of insane looking new footage.

As I noted yesterday, to this day I’m a Mad Max virgin, but that’s a problem that I’ll definitely have solved by the time May 15th rolls around.

In the film, “Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.”

Take a look at the trailer below, and be sure to let us know what you think!

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Geekscape Interviews: Luke Hemsworth, “Kill Me Three Times,” and the Darker Sides of Humanity http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-luke-hemsworth-kill-me-three-times-and-the-darker-sides-of-humanity http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-luke-hemsworth-kill-me-three-times-and-the-darker-sides-of-humanity#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:13:42 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86450 “What do you hope audiences take away from Kill Me Three Times?” I ask the burly, Australian hunk Luke Hemsworth.

“Hopefully a bit of grittiness,” he says. “Something grounded, something not fantastical.” For an absurd movie that involves assassinations and elaborate thefts, there is a grounded nature to Kriv Stender’s neo-noir riot, Kill Me Three Times.

For Luke Hemsworth, it appears gritty and real is something he seeks. Is it to stand out from his brothers, who have played Norse gods from comic books and sci-fi dystopian rebels?

“There’s an effort to differentiate,” he says. “But for me, it’s always been about the work and that I do a good job.”

The eldest of the Hemsworth brothers that have taken over Hollywood, Luke is best known for his role in the Australian soap opera Neighbours. After a string of television guest appearances, he starred in the 2012 miniseries Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms, where he portrayed Bandido badass Gregory “Shadow” Campbell.

Directed by Kriv Stenders, Kill Me Three Times is the actor’s full-length film where he plays Dylan, a seemingly simple surfer and auto mechanic with more depth to him than meets the eye. Caught in a love triangle between his lover and her abusive husband, Dylan goes to extreme measures to protect his loved ones.

I recently spoke to Luke Hemsworth about his work in the film, his relationship with his younger siblings and just how much he could relate to Dylan’s extremities.

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So I know you were born and raised in Australia. What was it like shooting there? My geography sucks but was production near Melbourne?

Luke: [laughs] No, no. Completely other side of the country. So, I grew up on the east coast and Perth and Margaret River where we shot was on the west coast. And, you know, [shooting] was in very, very remote west coast. I mean, it’s a dream. It’s like sex without a condom, just a little bit better.

You previously described your character, Dylan, as not “as uncomplicated.” What was it about Dylan that spoke to you? What clicked in your head that made you say, “Dylan? Yeah. I’ll play him.”

Luke: Pretty much just getting paid. That’s a great reason. [laughs] But nah, look, you look at these characters and the wonderful part about Dylan is that he’s a wonderful kind of juxtaposition of a light shade and darkness. He’s humanity, but he’s also the bringer of death, personified. [laughs] That’s what you look for as a performer. You want the gamut of everything. You don’t want one note.

Out of everyone in the film, Dylan is among the few who is selfless. How do you feel about playing the only “hero” of the film? Despite that you try to kill someone, of course.

Luke: [laughs] It’s great! It’s great because he’s a sleeper, in terms of the last person you’d expect to come through with the goods. In a lot of ways he’s kind of a reaction as he’s trying to get going. And that shows in the way he prepares to leave.

Was it easy or hard to slip into Dylan’s shoes? Could you see yourself take the drastic measures he takes?

Luke: To protect people, yes. I think he goes to an extreme in terms of his reaction, before he understands what’s actually happened. I definitely, definitely can relate to going to that extreme to protect people you love. I’ve got three girls, three daughters, and there’s nothing that kind of makes you realizes what you would do to protect [them]. But … that’s the attractive part, for me, for acting is treading that line. “Could I do this? Would I do this? What would be my reaction to this?”

What was it like working with director Kriv Stenders and your co-stars? You worked in beautiful Australia. Any fun stories?

Luke: I loved every moment of it. Working with Simon was awesome. Fortunately we got to spend a little time outside work together, some great dinners and lunches. I really got along well with Simon and hopefully he felt the same.

I’m sure he did!

Luke: [laughs] And Kriv is great too, a wonderful human being. He’s incredibly passionate, and very honest with what he wants and wants to do, which makes it easier for all involved.

The world knows your brothers pretty well, but we’re getting to know you a little better. What is it like having family in the business? Does acting bond you guys?

Luke: To a certain degree, sure. Maybe from an outside point of view. But internally, I don’t think so at all. In fact, most of us try to get away from it whenever we’re together. It’s about spending time together and being together, and not thinking about that world. But there’s definitely points when we ask each other for advice. Me, more than anyone. [laughs]

Is having that support system helpful?

Luke: Oh yeah. I’ve got the best support system in the world. [laughs]

Do you hope for one day audiences to see you, Luke Hemsworth, as your own individual, and not as “a Hemsworth brother”?

Luke: Yeah. Sure. There’s an effort to differentiate. In a lot of ways. There are doors that open, and there are doors that close with them being who they are. But for me, it’s always been about the work and that I do a good job. That’s all I kind of try to focus on. The rest is kind of, stuff that happens.

What’s the most fun thing you had in making Kill Me Three Times?

Luke: Man, it’s really sad but the one thing that was amazing for me was getting to surf in this film, but that didn’t get in to the final edit. But we got to surf some incredible waves … That, and the scene with me and Callan Mulvey before all hell breaks loose. It’s a wonderful scene and I always loved it from start to finish, and it was a beautiful day of shooting. Intense, but incredibly rewarding. I think it was one of my favorite scenes of the movie.

Kill Me Three Times is available now on iTunes and On Demand platforms and will hit theaters on April 10, 2015.

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The Long Troubled ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’ Finally Gets A Release Date! http://www.geekscape.net/the-long-troubled-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies-finally-gets-a-release-date http://www.geekscape.net/the-long-troubled-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies-finally-gets-a-release-date#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 02:24:23 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86464 Briefly: I remember being so excited for the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies adaptation when it was first announced back in 2009 (the same year that the book was first published). Since then, the film has shifted stars, directors, studios, and more, and after seeing the first image from the actually happening film back in November, we finally know just when we’ll be able to see it.

Screen Gems has scheduled the film for a February 19th, 2016 release, which is less than eleven months away at this point. As before, the film is directed by 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud director Burr Steers, with a script from Steers and David O. Russell.

really enjoyed the novel, turning something that was nearly impossible for me to get through into something funny, original, and incredibly intriguing. I really can’t wait to see how the film adaptation turns out. For now, take another look at that first image below, and be sure to let us know what you think!

PPZ1

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Three New ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ TV Spots Remind Us How Incredible It Looks! http://www.geekscape.net/three-new-mad-max-fury-road-tv-spots-remind-us-how-incredible-it-looks http://www.geekscape.net/three-new-mad-max-fury-road-tv-spots-remind-us-how-incredible-it-looks#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 02:12:30 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86462 Briefly: I’m still not overly familiar with the Mad Max series, but these incredibly gorgeous spots for the upcoming Fury Road are making me rethink my entire life.

In the film, “Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.”

The spots look insane, are action packed, and instantly excite even a Mad Max virgin like myself. Take a look at the videos below, and be sure to let us know how excited you are for this one. Mad Max: Fury Road hits theatres on May 15th!

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Hawkgirl & Rip Hunter Cast For CW’s Arrow / The Flash Spinoff! http://www.geekscape.net/hawkgirl-rip-hunter-cast-for-cws-arrow-the-flash-spinoff http://www.geekscape.net/hawkgirl-rip-hunter-cast-for-cws-arrow-the-flash-spinoff#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 02:00:44 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86457 Briefly: Today is apparently a hot day for spinoff news. First, The Walking Dead spinoff Fear the Walking Dead received its first short but sweet teaser trailer, and now both Hawkgirl and Rip Hunter have been cast for The CW’s Arrow / The Flash spinoff.

Law and Order: SVU guest and Broadway star Ciara Renée has been cast as Kendra Saunders / Hawkgirl in the upcoming (and anticipated) as yet untitled series.  Deadline notes that Saunders “is a young woman who is just beginning to learn that she has been repeatedly reincarnated over the centuries. When provoked, her ancient warrior persona manifests itself, along with wings that grow out of her back, earning her the moniker Hawkgirl.”

Renee

Doctor Who alum Arthur Darvill has also joined the project, and will portray Rip Hunter, “a roguish time traveler who hides the strains of being responsible for history itself behind a facade of charm and wit.”

Darvill

It’s also noted that the series is set to feature three DC characters that we haven’t yet seen on TV, with Darvill’s Rip Hunter being the first announced. The two join already revealed returning characters, like Brandon Routh’s The Atom, Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold, Dominic Purcell’s Heat Wave, and more.

Are you looking forward to the series? Or are we already at critical mass for comic book series on television? Sound out below!

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Disney Will Make a Man Out of You: Live-Action “Mulan” in the Works http://www.geekscape.net/disney-will-make-a-man-out-of-you-live-action-mulan-in-the-works http://www.geekscape.net/disney-will-make-a-man-out-of-you-live-action-mulan-in-the-works#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:52:22 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86452 Fresh off their successful live-adaptations of Disney tales like Cinderella and Maleficent, Disney intends to continue striking while that iron burns hot with Mulan. I’m legitimately excited.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Disney bought a script by writing team Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek that centers on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, the female warrior who was the main character in Disney’s 1998 animated film.

 

Chris Bender and J.C. Spink (We’re the Millers) are producing the new project.

Mulan will be yet another entry in live-action reboots Disney has in the works.

Disney is also making a live-action retelling of Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson andDan Stevens. Audra McDonaldjust joined the cast of the project, which will be directed by Bill Condon. It hits theaters on March 17, 2017. And in 2016 Disney will release a new version of The Jungle Book and the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. Finally, a live-action version of Dumbo, which will be helmed by Tim Burton, is also in the works.

The success of genre properties like The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones must have unlocked Disney’s awareness of their older audience who have a fond affinity of never growing up past their childhood. How long before we see The Lion King with real lions?

I’m not knocking their decision — a live-action Mulan that looks like Red Cliff? Yes please! — I just think it’s funny that it’s only in this era that Disney could profit from these types of movies. The direct influence from geekier properties are clear, but appropriated into Disney fairy tales (which itself were mostly Grimm stories which clearly Mulan isn’t, but still) is just amusing to me.

Points for Disney for hiring women writers. I do hope they commit to the, uh, ahem, exotic aspects of Mulan and not cast non-Asians in any prominent roles. Of all the ethnicities underrepresented in Hollywood, it’s Asians, man. There were twenty years between Margaret Cho’s failed sitcom to ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. Twenty.

It is currently unknown when this new Mulan will hit theaters, but I hope it’s soon. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

 

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A Strange Virus Is Going Around: Watch The First Teaser For ‘Fear The Walking Dead’! http://www.geekscape.net/a-strange-virus-is-going-around-watch-the-first-teaser-for-fear-the-walking-dead http://www.geekscape.net/a-strange-virus-is-going-around-watch-the-first-teaser-for-fear-the-walking-dead#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:04:50 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86441 Briefly: AMC finally revealed the official title just a few days ago, and now we officially have the first teaser for this Summer’s Fear the Walking Dead.

Back when franchise creator Robert Kirkman revealed the first details about the spinoff series, it certainly sounded like Fear the Walking Dead wouldn’t be the full-on prequel that many were hoping for. Fans, more than they wanted to see another side of the United States, wanted to see how this whole shitstorm began, but when Kirkman stated that “The timeline is taking place a little bit earlier than the original show,” it didn’t sound as though we’d be getting the origin story many were hoping for.

The first teaser however, makes us feel differently. It’s very short, but highly revelatory on the timeline of the series (or at least its beginning):

Interesting enough, the teaser’s voiceover states that ‘a strange virus is going around.’ Is just being infected enough to turn someone with a weak immune system into a walker? As we all know, we are all infected, and for most it’s, well, actually dying that turns one into a walker, so it’ll be interesting to see how the first full on zombies come to be.

Fear the Walking Dead is set to debut this Summer, and I’m definitely more excited for this series now that we know just when it’ll begin (timeline wise). How do you guys feel about the spinoff? Sound out below!

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Trevor Noah Will Be the New Host of “The Daily Show” http://www.geekscape.net/trevor-noah-will-be-the-new-host-of-the-daily-show http://www.geekscape.net/trevor-noah-will-be-the-new-host-of-the-daily-show#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86435 South African-native Trevor Noah, at just 31-years-old, has been named the new host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central.

From The New York Times, speaking to Noah in Dubai during a comedy tour:

“You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” Mr. Noah said of learning about his new job. “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”

 

The appointment of Mr. Noah, a newcomer to American television, promises to add youthful vitality and international perspective to “The Daily Show.” It puts a nonwhite performer at the head of this flagship Comedy Central franchise, and one who comes with Mr. Stewart’s endorsement.

 

“I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor,” Mr. Stewart said in a statement. “He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with.” Mr. Stewart added that he “may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!”

The Daily Show veteran Jason Jones left his position (with a great send-off) very recently, but even so the selection of Noah is an ace move on whoever’s part it was, Comedy Central or The Daily Show‘s producers or even Jon Stewart himself. (I don’t know who made the decision.)

I’m extremely happy and excited to see a guy like Noah — who is not only a person of color hosting one of the biggest, most influential social/political late-night programs of all time, but also foreign as we march to the next exhaustive election season. Like John Oliver, Noah’s South African accent gives him a sort of objective perspective that isn’t biased by being a born citizen. So when the United States fucks up and (and when we do, we fuck up hard), there will be someone who can really tell it like it is.

Also, he’s just really funny. That’s literally the only real requirement to host anything on Comedy Central. I mean, you remember this, right?

Congratulations, Trevor Noah. I can’t wait to see you do your thing.

UPDATE: The Daily Show has made the official announcement.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 12.02.53 PM

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Geekscape Reviews: “The Director’s Chair” with Luis Valdez http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-reviews-the-directors-chair-with-luis-valdez http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-reviews-the-directors-chair-with-luis-valdez#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 18:36:23 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86431 Luis Valdez is an important name. Yet I don’t hear it often.

Perhaps it’s the circles I run in, but in both the classroom and in the outside world, I have noticed director’s names have become buzzwords for people to show off their cred, no matter how hollow they actually are. “I love Tarantino,” I hear often. “Oh yeah? I love Fincher.” “Kurosawa.” “Wright.” “Hitchcock.” “Nolan.” We turn artists into Pokemon cards, a symptom of our obsession of the “’90s kids” label.

But thanks to The Director’s Chair with Robert Rodriguez, we not only get to know better the important filmmakers we know and love — del Toro, Coppola, etc. — it’s a chance to really examine the artist, from his/her own perspective. In the newest episode, filmed in the Ricardo Montalban Theatre featuring “the father of Chicano cinema” Luis Valdez, Robert Rodriguez journeys with Valdez over his childhood, his career, and eventually to his biggest hits in films like Zoot SuitLa Bamba, and The Cisco Kid.

“Film is accessible to us,” Valdez says early on in his interview. “We can do film.” Today in 2015, where we all carry cameras in our pockets, that statement has never been more true.

Luis Valdez is relaxed. This episode of The Director’s Chair featuring him is such an easy 40+ minutes that you nearly forget you’re watching two prominent filmmakers talk. It’s startling considering the gravity of the subjects — racial, class inequality in mid-20th century American history, of which Valdez puts extremely well into the context of his career — because Valdez speaks just like a cool uncle or professor that we’ve all known at least once.

Valdez may not have the deep filmography of previous The Director’s Chair subjects, but that doesn’t make his insight any less enlightening or inspiring. Valdez’s real world run-ins with gangs — his cousin was a “pachuco” which served as a starting point for Zoot Suit – and front lines of protest colors him in ways more interesting than any filmmaker who just made a bunch of movies.

But beyond film, Valdez has been active elsewhere, particularly theatre. He admits in the episode that he’s 74-years-old, but that there is so much he still wants to do. In my interview with Valdez, he discusses working on his newest play, Valley of the Heart’s Delight, and he hopes to turn it into a film. I hope he does too.

“If you break in, you have to bring extra sledgehammers,” Rodriguez says to Valdez. He agrees. If there’s one thing that Valdez won me over in this forty-minute interview, it was his perspective on fighting for the next generation. His background as an activist surely inspired his understanding how difficult it is for new, young people to let their voice be heard.

In some ways, I’m kind of glad cinema snobs don’t mention names like Valdez often. It’s easy for me to discriminate against their false sense of superiority. As they continue to diminish art like they’re Magic the Gathering cards, dropping their knowledge to show off at their convenience, I’ll be here celebrating the visionaries who, like his (or her, in other cases) peers, intend to educate and positively influence the next generation. Valdez, above all, would know all about fighting for the future.

The Director’s Chair with Luis Valdez gets 4 out of 5 stars.

The special premieres tonight on El Rey Network at 8 PM EST/8:15 PT. It will be followed by Valdez’s 1987 classic, La Bamba immediately after at 9 PM EST/9:15 PT.

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Geekscape Interviews: “La Bamba” Director Luis Valdez on Social Injustice, Batman, and Influencing the Next Generation http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-la-bamba-director-luis-valdez-on-social-injustice-batman-and-influencing-the-next-generation http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-la-bamba-director-luis-valdez-on-social-injustice-batman-and-influencing-the-next-generation#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 17:17:58 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86395 “Injustices grows like weeds,” Luis Valdez tells me. “If you do nothing they’ll choke your whole garden, man.”

It’s a natural metaphor for Valdez to use. He spent his childhood following the harvests in central California valleys with his migrant farmer parents, and he stood on the picket lines with Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers.

“It’s incumbent on every new generation to develop a social conscience and to really defend themselves.”

Hailed as the father of Chicano theatre, Luis Valdez’s voice has been heard on the theatrical stage, the cinema and on the front lines of protests. With a childhood background in theatre, he founded El Teatro Campesino, a theatre troupe composed entirely of farm workers for the United Farm Workers union. Their one-act plays toured migrant camps to entertain and enlighten both farmers and the public alike and were infused with social and political commentary. Valdez’s plays lifted the morale of the strikers during the toughest, most formative years in American history.

Eventually, Valdez would take his talents to the cinema, starting with the bombastic Zoot Suit (1981) starring Edward James Olmos. An adaptation of his smash-hit play, it was based on the Sleepy Lagoon murder trials and the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943.

In 1987, Luis Valdez captivated audiences worldwide with the American movie classic, La Bamba, his critically-acclaimed biopic of Chicano rock-‘n-roll star Ritchie Valens, whose untimely death alongside Buddy Holly and J.P. Richardson became colloquially known as “The Day the Music Died.” Valdez’s film was nominated for Best Picture at the 1988 Golden Globes and currently holds a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The legendary Luis Valdez will be featured in the next episode of The Director’s Chair with Robert Rodriguez, set to air tonight at 8 PM EST/8:15 PT on El Rey Network. I had the chance to speak to Luis on his appearance on the show, his storied career, the Hispanic origins of Batman, and what the 74-year-old has next in store.

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I apologize for getting a little meta as I interview you about your interview, but what went through your mind when you were first approached about being featured on The Director’s Chair?

Luis: I’ve been in this business for quite a while, I started fifty years ago. So to be invited to speak and have a conversation with Robert Rodriguez on a show on the network he started, I think it’s the mark of the tremendous progress that he has individually made but also for all the rest of us. I love his ambition, I love his grand vision, you know?

At the same time, I’m very appreciative of the fact that he has acknowledged my work in the line of succession with different playwrights and filmmakers and also in my relation to his work. All in all, it was a tremendously exhilarating experience.

Was there anything you discovered or rediscovered about yourself as you retraced your career?

Luis: When you do this, you start at the beginning of your career [that] was really focused on your own needs and obstacles, and ultimately you realize you’re not really doing it for yourself. I mean, if you’re lucky you realize it’s not for you. We love in a society, we live in a world that’s communal. We end up serving others and offer opportunities to your own work, and so the conversation [in The Director’s Chair] really underlined that, I think.

But at the same time that we’re talking about the past, we’re also servicing the future. There are all these young filmmakers, male and female that are watching the program, and looking at this interview between two filmmakers and I’m sure they come away thinking, “I can do this. I know what my future is.” In that sense, it’s a tremendous inspiration.

As one of those young filmmakers, that’s absolutely true. I’m itching to pick up a camera again.

Luis: [laughs]

So this is Geekscape and we’re all comic book nerds here. In The Director’s Chair you described El Pachuco as “Batman.” Can you elaborate a little more on that comparison?

Luis: You know, a lot of people don’t realize the roots of Batman are really Latino. They don’t go back to the bat god, the ones the Mayans had — they had one that was “bat man,” they had sculptures of him, literally they had bats down there — but the other, more relatively recent inspiration for Batman was Zorro. But Zorro was based on the California bandits. Joaquin Murrieta and Tiburico Vásquez.

Tiburico Vásquez was a local, he lived in this town where I live now, [and] he used to wear all in black. He used to wear a cape, he was a dashing figure, he was hanged in San Jose in 1875 but he made the news. Even all the way to New York, they published the news about his hanging. But, the thing is, he was a romantic figure. So that was picked up, I think, [and] absorbed into the figure of Zorro which was a more fanciful, more romantic image of early California.

But then Zorro led to Batman, except now transplanted to the city and wearing a cape, but essentially dealing with crime, but still strange because he’s a “bat man.” So El Pachuco, in some ways, is also dressed in black, black and red, which are the colors of an ancient Aztec god, he comes from the school of hard knocks … I didn’t go exactly [into making him] as the bat god, but there are all these links and if you know history, particularly cultural history, you’ll see that there’s a continuity and it was important that we had a Latino superhero, who was above the constrictions of reality.

So, since Pachuco is mythical, even though they strip him he stands up like an Aztec god. Even though he can be confronted, no one can beat him. He says it’s gonna take more than the US Navy to wipe me out, because no army on Earth can defeat a mythological figure. And every people, in order to be free and to have sovereign power over their own destiny, has to have its own mythology. And so, I was just recapturing these roots for the Latino, but ultimately for all Americans.

Images: Huffington Post, Reality is Scary, Batman Wiki

Images: Huffington Post, Reality is Scary, Batman Wiki

You built your career on the picket lines, so to speak. Young Americans today have been very active, from Occupy Wall Street to Ferguson, Missouri. How do you feel about people speaking up in the way they’re doing it today?

Luis: It’s absolutely essential for every generation to capture that social responsibility. Injustice grows like weeds, okay? The injustices of the world are like weeds, and if you do nothing they’ll choke your whole garden, man.

It comes out of human beings, it comes from the dark side of the human being, when people don’t give a hoot about other people and they’ll steal and rob and rob the food out of baby’s mouths, so it’s incumbent on every new generation to develop a social conscience and to really defend themselves. And that takes demonstrations sometimes.

I wish they didn’t always have to go to the streets, but if we’re lucky we get representatives in Congress that can represent our interests. We have heavy obstacles in terms of the moneyed interests in Congress, there’s a lot of greed and corruption, let’s face it.

Of course.

Luis: So it is all important that young people stay aware and protect themselves.

In La Bamba you casted Lou Diamond Philips as Ritchie and faced a lot of criticism. I personally thought it was kind of cool because I’m Filipino.

Luis: Good for you! [laughs]

But in The Director’s Chair you said “the play’s the thing.” Even today, films are being criticized for racial miscasting. Do you believe audience anger towards those casting decisions are justified?

Luis: It depends on where it’s coming from. A lot of the public responses are based on the prejudices and ignorance, they’ve been inherited from previous generations. If you know anything about history, particularly California agriculture for instance, I grew up with Filipinos, Chinese and Japanese. California has always been a multicultural state, but the thing is, you’ve got to open your eyes and people in general need to get over their own prejudices.

One of the great things about the Delano grape strike is that it combined Filipinos and Mexicans together for the first time in that kind of intense and successful way. There had been strikes dating all the way back to the ’20s with Filipino workers, they were part of the … workforce, in the fields, they had a right to complain about the working conditions, they faced tremendous discrimination and yet, they’re related. They’re like cousins to Mexicans. Mexicans don’t realize that, the Filipinos are like the Asian Hispanics.

My last name is Francisco!

Luis: Yeah! So all that is really something that people can change their minds about if they’re educated. Part of our journey too is to educate people, [which] I like to do through the arts. That’s how you sweeten the lesson, you entertain people but you teach them about their own history.

You said in The Director’s Chair that you still have a lot ahead of you, that you’re in “Act Three” so to speak. Does that mean we might see you direct another film? If so, what kind of movie do you want to tackle?

Luis: I have a new play called Valley of the Heart’s Delight which is still making its way up the ranks towards LA. I would like to film that. I would love to make it a film. It’s a love story between a Mexican farm worker and the daughter of his Japanese employer in Silicon Valley.

It’s [set in] 1941 just on the eve of World War II. It’s intense, it’s based on one of my childhood friends on the love story of his parents because he was half-Mexican, half-Japanese, and so it has been a very successful play, we put it in workshops, and now it’s just starting to climb the ladder. It’ll get to LA, and I hope people will see the possibilities for a movie. I’d love to film that.

Thank you so much for speaking to me today, Mr. Valdez. It’s been a pleasure.

Luis: Thank you, man. Good luck on your career.

The Director’s Chair with Luis Valdez airs tonight on the El Rey Network at 8 PM EST/8:15 PT. It will be followed by La Bamba at 9 PM EST/ 9:15 PT. Check your local listings for El Rey.

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Did Hugh Jackman Announce He’s Retiring Wolverine on Instagram? http://www.geekscape.net/did-hugh-jackman-announce-hes-retiring-wolverine-on-instagram http://www.geekscape.net/did-hugh-jackman-announce-hes-retiring-wolverine-on-instagram#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 18:14:53 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86398 I’m not sure how Hugh Jackman feels about his Wolverine role anymore. On numerous occasions I’ve heard him rave about how he could do something like forty more movies as the Canadian beast, and other times I hear he’s ready to quit. I don’t fault Jackman for finding the role tiresome as an actor; beyond needing to be so physically ripped, it can get boring for anybody playing the same dude for over twelve or thirteen years. But he’s so natural as Logan too, it’s kind of a bummer that there will inevitably be a time when the Wolverine we see on screen isn’t Hugh Jackman.

But are we closer to that day than we realize? Hugh Jackman posted on his Instagram today this oddly cryptic-but-blatant photo.

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Maybe I’m so out of the loop but is Wolverine 3 even in production right now? The status of that movie hasn’t been my priority so I kind of glaze over any news bits that finds their way online, which is a shining example of responsible journalism.

Coming straight from the man himself, this should put to rest any rumors about Jackman’s further involvement in the X-Men series until we hear otherwise.

What do you guys think?

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The Saint Mort Show Episode 121 – Wrestlemania Preview with Juan and Joshua of Geekscape Games http://www.geekscape.net/the-saint-mort-show-episode-121-wrestlemania-preview-with-juan-and-joshua-of-geekscape-games http://www.geekscape.net/the-saint-mort-show-episode-121-wrestlemania-preview-with-juan-and-joshua-of-geekscape-games#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 01:38:26 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86392 This is another wrestling packed episode. Once again I’m joined by some Geekscape Games co-hosts. This time Wrestling fans (and gaming enthusiasts) Juan Carlos and Joshua Jackson join me to discuss what we think is gonna happen at Wrestlemania, Who should be moving up the roster from NXT and who in general deserves more crowd reactions. Worry not non-Wrestling fans, next week it’ll be back to the same old bullshit that you know and love from the Saint Mort Show.

Follow Saint Mort on Facebook and Twitter and SoundCloud.

If you really like the show get Matt something nice off his AmazonWishList

Subscribe to Us on iTunes

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Out Of The Shadows Emerges The First Teaser Trailer For ‘James Bond: SPECTRE’ http://www.geekscape.net/out-of-the-shadows-emerges-the-first-teaser-trailer-for-james-bond-spectre http://www.geekscape.net/out-of-the-shadows-emerges-the-first-teaser-trailer-for-james-bond-spectre#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:13:00 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86388 Just like the name implies, Spectre  moves about the shadows. Quietly and quickly they struck, with this awesome teaser trailer!

I am, and always will be, a HUGE James Bond fan. Much to the chagrin of our fearless leader Jonathan London, the James Bond formula is ALWAYS fun. I am very excited to see Sam Mendes’ modern take on the SPECTRE organization.

James Bond 007: Spectre stars The Aston Martin DB10 Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes. It hits theaters November 6th!

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Grab A Bottle Of Jack Because ‘The Legend Of Zelda Wii U’ Will NOT Be Released This Year! http://www.geekscape.net/grab-a-bottle-of-jack-because-the-legend-of-zelda-wii-u-will-not-be-released-this-year http://www.geekscape.net/grab-a-bottle-of-jack-because-the-legend-of-zelda-wii-u-will-not-be-released-this-year#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 23:30:11 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86385 What an amazing way to start a weekend! Eiji Aonuma, director of Legend of Zelda Wii U, just released the video that pretty much ruins 2015 for a lot of gamers.

I still appreciate that they want to make the game the way they want, and not rush to make release dates. (We touch on this subject in Level 22 of the Geekscape Games Podcast) This news alone wouldn’t be world ending, but we got ourselves handed a one two punch of bad Zelda news. Just, read this tweet and shed a single tear.

 

March 27th 2015 will forever be known as Zelda Black Friday.

cry-guy

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We Now Have the Title of “The Walking Dead” Spin-Off http://www.geekscape.net/we-now-have-the-title-of-the-walking-dead-spin-off http://www.geekscape.net/we-now-have-the-title-of-the-walking-dead-spin-off#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:47:13 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86382 You can rule out The Walking Dead: LA which kind of bums me out.

The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman just posted on his Twitter — because, again, this is 2015 — the title of The Walking Dead spin-off set to take place in the once-bustling Los Angeles. Enter: Fear the Walking Dead.

Unlike Better Call Saul, which had to show me was good before it could sell me on the idea, a spin-off of The Walking Dead makes perfect sense. I didn’t feel like exploring Breaking Bad again, it felt unnecessary and then Better Call Saul blew me away.

The Walking Dead, however, that I can believe has a big world worth exploring, because the very premise is about exploring the world. I get that it’s a metaphor for American manifest destiny, but the southern locale of The Walking Dead has exhausted me and I’m dying to see how the rest of the world responded to he disease. What is it like in Shanghai? Chicago? Rio de Janeiro? India is one of the most densely-populated countries, there have to be cities still bustling, so busy you can’t even tell the zombie apocalypse happened. Imagine seeing that.

But Los Angeles is the location of this spin-off, which I’m sure was partly chosen for convenience on the staff and production. But how to make entire blocks of LA desolate? That will be interesting to see.

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Geekscape Interviews: Alice Braga on Fighting For Love in “Kill Me Three Times” http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-alice-braga-on-fighting-for-love-in-kill-me-three-times http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-alice-braga-on-fighting-for-love-in-kill-me-three-times#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:33:24 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86315 Kriv Stender’s Kill Me Three Times is quickly becoming known as one of the most bombastic films of the year. But at the heart of the film, which features elaborate schemes, corrupt cops and assassins, is a lone woman just trying to find happiness.

Portrayed by captivating Brazilian-native Alice Braga, Alice (pronounced differently from her real name) is caught in a love triangle between her controlling husband Jack (Callan Mulvey) and her surfer lover Dylan (Luke Hemsworth). Against a lush Australian background, Alice endures hell from people seeking to exploit her for the most awful of motivations.

A veteran of genre films, Braga’s career took off with the critically-acclaimed City of God in 2002. After taking a brief pause in her career to pursue her education, she later starred in her English-language debut Journey to the End of Night which premiered at the fifth-annual Tribeca Film Festival. She would later star in blockbuster action films like I Am LegendPredators, and Elysium.

I recently sat down with Alice to discuss her new role, which serves as yet another example of strong women she has portrayed in her storied filmography.

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What was your first impression of Alice? Did that change at all as you completed shooting?

Alice: Kind of! I tried to understand, especially with Kriv what exactly he wanted from this girl. Who was she? How did she end up in this world? Just out of curiosity I wanted to hear from him, but my input was that she traveled the world. Which justified why a foreign [of Australia] like me, a Brazilian, would live this way in this landscape we found her in. She struck me as someone who wanted to live and to travel.

In a past version [of a previous draft], I used to sing and play the guitar and surf and all that … but she’s just someone who lived in the moment and lived life. It’s very human. [She’s] very generous, and kind, and things go south when her husband just starts going in a different direction and treats her badly. So that’s why she wants to escape. But I think the first input I had, in a way, is what’s on the screen.

You’re not a stranger to starring in action movies. We’ve previously seen you in I Am LegendPredators, and Elysium. But Alice in Kill Me Three Times endures a fair amount of punishment in this movie. How difficult was shooting your physically-heavy scenes?

Alice: It was fun, actually! I mean, of course I had a stunt girl, that poor girl. [laughs] As soon as I read it, I was like, “Poor stunt girl! She’s gonna be suffering!” But it was fun!I mean, it’s interesting that it’s a happy coincidence that I happened to have the chance to work in a bunch of action films, so I kind of like have my body ready for it because I’ve had experience with it.

But [for Kill Me Three Times], it was more of the idea of it. Being barefoot and running and all that, more than specifically having to do heavy scenes. But definitely it demanded me physically for [things like] running, trying to survive, and all that. It was interesting. It was fun! I loved it! I was in Disneyland.

Alice is caught in a very intense love triangle. What can you say about working with your co-stars, Luke and Callan? As an actress, how did you feel about their energy?

Alice: It was wonderful. I mean, Luke, when I met him on the screen test, he was an adorable guy and right away I knew that Kriv liked him because he felt that he was honest, truthful and very much what they needed for Dylan. A guy that would be trustful. You could fall in love with him. He was so honest, right away we became friends. It was fun.

We say, in Brazil, that Australians are a lot like us. We talk a lot, we’re warm, we’re kind, we’re always happy. Australians have that vibe! So, both of us became friends right away. It was wonderful, and great to be working with him all the time.

And Callan is such a phenomenal actor! We had some different types of scenes that were so dramatic, completely different from Luke. We had like a little bit of work to do in the sense of finding the emotion, finding the relationship that these characters had. and finding the balance of not putting him as the villain or only as the bad guy.

So I feel that it was wonderful to get the chance to work with him in that direction, and in different ways they both complimented me and it was wonderful because they helped me build my character with their own characters. It’s a love triangle, so we needed each other.

That energy really showed, it was amazing to watch your dynamic.

Alice: Aw, thank you!

Alice’s story is one of the more grounded aspects of the film, a contrast to the elaborate schemes and assassinations. How difficult to perform these “real” scenes in an otherwise outlandish movie?

Alice: It’s funny, because my part was a hard part. My character is the “normal” character, in a way, if you think about it. She’s not [a part of] that absurdity. She’s not a part of the comedy, the grittiness, or the violence. [But on] my end, I talked a lot with Kriv to not overdramatize or overdo anything. I tried my best to play as if nothing [crazy] was happening around me, because otherwise if I was waiting for it to happen or trying to give it something, I think we would lose something.

It was interesting, it was a challenge. It was great to get the chance to work with Teresa Palmer and Sullivan Stapleton, both phenomenal actors and [they] taught me so much. I had so much fun with them.

What was it like working with [the director] Kriv Stenders?

Alice: He was amazing. Kriv was the type of director who’s kind, gentle, super generous, and listens to everything you want to ask or bring to the table. He’s someone who knows what he wanted. He really knew what he wanted. He was very prepared and focused, and very sure of how to tell this story. Each character, of which there were so many … had a different connection with him, and he had an understanding of each one of us without mixing up or getting lost. It was wonderful, I really learned from him, and I’m really thankful for his friendship and generosity.

Was there anything in Alice [your character] that you could describe as autobiographical? Was there anything in her that you saw yourself in?

Alice: No, I think no.

Really?

Alice: Yeah. I think definitely being someone that … in the beginning when she was just in love and fighting for her life and fighting for her love and just wanted to keep on going with her life, yeah, I think. The survival, definitely the survival! [laughs] I would definitely run like she did!

So you’ve already described Alice as a world traveller who settled. That’s quite a rich backstory. What do you think happened to Alice after the movie? (WARNING: Spoilers!)

Alice: Definitely moved on with Dylan. Had the kid, if she’s still pregnant, because after all that violence we don’t know if she still is pregnant. [laughs]

I was actually really worried about that too!

Alice: Yeah! Exactly! But definitely I feel like she moved on to a different spot but did the same thing. Lived her life the way she always dreamed, which was being with someone she loved in a beautiful place.

You haven’t only portrayed strong women, but strong characters. They’ve overcome the biggest or most absurd of obstacles, again I bring up your movies like I Am LegendPredators, and Elysium. As Hollywood begins to further include the talents of women and persons of color, how do you feel about being amongst the forefront of that?

Alice: I feel very happy and honored, and really lucky. I love portraying different types of characters, and funny enough like you said, a bunch of strong women have come in my direction. I feel so honored that people feel that I can portray these types of characters because you need to honor them in the sense to make them believable and truthful.

And thank you for saying that, by the way! For saying that I’m a part of it! [laughs] Because the more I can do, the better. I would love to keep on doing it. I feel it’s so important to more chances to wonderful characters, female characters, and characters of different ethnicities. I feel very happy, and very honored.

Is there anything in the future we can look forward to seeing you in?

Alice: I did a film called By Way of Helena directed by Australian director Kieran-Darcy Smith, and funny enough my love interest is Liam Hemsworth so I’m with another Hemsworth! [laughs] And Woody Harrelson as well. I don’t know when it’s gonna be released, but it’s a period piece, it’s a wonderful story.

I just did a pilot for USA Network, not sure if it’s going to be picked up or not, we still haven’t finished post-production. The name is Queen of the South, it’s based on a book by Arturo Perez-Reverte and it’s a love story. A lovely story, about this woman that is Mexican and she’s just thrown into the drug-dealing world and a bunch of things happen.

Sounds intense!

Alice: Yeah, really intense! And a strong woman, again! [laughs]

Kill Me Three Times will be released April 10th. It is now available on various VOD platforms.

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Aya Kanno To Be A Featured Guest At Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF)! http://www.geekscape.net/aya-kanno-to-be-a-featured-guest-at-toronto-comic-arts-festival-tcaf http://www.geekscape.net/aya-kanno-to-be-a-featured-guest-at-toronto-comic-arts-festival-tcaf#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:14:03 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=86356 The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) proudly announced that international manga superstar and New York Times best selling author, Aya Kanno, will attend the 2015 Festival as a Featured Guest! Below is the press release with more details!

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Aya Kanno is the author of the Blank Slate, the New York Times bestselling series Otomen, and the newly-released Requiem of the Rose King, all published in English by VIZ Media. Kanno will participate in a variety of programs at the Festival including a feature interview, panel discussion, and book signing sessions. Aya Kanno will attend TCAF 2015 with her editor Yuri Yamamoto of Akita Shoten, and with the support of VIZ Media.

 

“We’re so happy to be able to welcome Aya Kanno to North America for the first time,” enthused Festival Director Christopher Butcher. “To my mind Kanno’s work really reinforces what TCAF is all about: unique, diverse voices and great comics! Shoujo manga, or ‘girls’ manga, doesn’t really get the respect it deserves in general, and Kanno’s work is specifically great, smartly interrogating the medium and its approach to gender, sexuality, and storytelling.”

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Aya Kanno’s best-known work in North America is the romantic comedy series Otomen, which ran for 18 volumes, frequently appearing on the New York Times bestseller list. The romantic comedy series explores a wide variety of characters that rebel against traditional gender roles in Japanese society, starting with the titular character who is an Otomen (“otome,” Japanese for young girl, combined with the English word “men”). Kanno’s newest work is the just-released Requiem of the Rose King, a dark fantasy retelling of Shakespeare’s Richard III and Henry VI, which continues the manga creator’s exploration of gender, sexuality, and identity, but this time in the context of historical and literary fiction.

 

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Aya Kanno will join a very diverse array of Japanese manga creators already announced for TCAF 2015, including the cartooning duo Gurihiru (Avatar: The Last Airbender), gay manga originator Gengoroh Tagame (The Passion of…), and indy manga creator Ken Niimura (Henshin, I Kill Giants).

A full schedule of Aya Kanno’s appearances at TCAF 2015 will be announced in April, 2015.

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2015, Saturday May 9, 9am-5pm, and Sunday May 10, 11am-5pm, @ Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street. Attendance is FREE to the public.

I love the TCAF’s Festival Director’s quote that Shojo “doesn’t really get the respect it deserves”! Shojo is one of my favorite styles and it is great to hear that Aya Kanno will be at TCAF.

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