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Jeri Jacquin and Jenise Jacquin
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The second season of
The Handmaid’s Tale
comes to Blu-ray™ and DVD December 4th from MGM Television and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The 4-disc set includes all 13 heart-stopping episodes, as well as two brand new featurettes that take the viewers beyond the pages of Margaret Atwood’s award-winning, best-selling novel.
MGM TELEVISION'S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED SERIES "THE HANDMAID'S TALE" SEASON 2 COMING TO BLU-RAY & DVD DECEMBER 4
INCREDIBLES 2: Speaking with Story Artists Andrew Jimenez and Bobby Rubio
Coming to Digital and Bluray Multi Screen Edition on November 6th from director Brad Bird and Walt Disney Home Entertainment is the release of INCREDIBLES 2.
This fantastic family film has so much to offer everyone in the way of superheroes, family fun, laughs and everything we have come to love about the Parr family. I had the great opportunity to speak to Andrew Jimenez and Bobby Rubio about their experience working on INCREDIBLES 2.
Andrew Jimenez is a Story Artist/Motion Graphics Lead and graduate of San Diego State University and Bobby Rubio is a Story Artist who graduated from CalArts. It could easily be said that both of these hometown boys made good being part of Pixar and they share with us the process of becoming part of this iconic family and what it takes to bring Brad Bird’s vision to life.
Jeri Jacquin: Hello Andrew, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today about your work on INCREDIBLES 2
Andrew Jimenez: Of course.
JJ: We are going to jump right in, tell me a little bit about how you got involved in the project.
AJ: After film school in San Diego and I was interviewing for positions. I think everyone knows how difficult it is to get into this work in Los Angeles but I got work on a piece called THE IRON GIANT. Brad Bird was working on the film and they wanted to try something new at that time called animatics with storyboarding. That's how I met Brad and that process of storyboarding and animatics worked out really well on that
project and when he came to PIXAR to do THE INCREDIBLES he brought a few people with him to use that process. The storyboarding process is pretty much the same for both 2D and 3D. I ended up in the Bay area working with Brad on THE INCREDIBLES.
JJ: First of all a shout out to San Diego, second, THE IRON GIANT is a family favorite. I've been to Pixar and it is like turning into an excited five year old because it’s such an amazing and fascinating place. How was it for you walking onto that campus knowing you were working on pieces that have become so iconic?
AJ: It was a bit overwhelming in the right way. There is a long walkway that leads to this beautiful lawn pathway and I thought it would be great to have a steam train along that pathway. It's also good to know that I wasn't the only one who thought that. What added to my excitement on the first day of employment in 2000 is that it was the first day that this particular campus was open for everyone to start working in. It was a great equalizer because whether it was your first day like it was for me or a new day on the new campus we all had the same questions. It was nice to figure it out together.
JJ: What I noticed at PIXAR is the free environment of thought and ideas. It seems like it is set up for you all to be free flowing.
AJ: Just this morning that happened as I was getting my coffee in the atrium. We were having nerdy talk about Star Wars and work stuff for the day. The best part of it was that it fed into everything we are doing, this place encourages these kinds of conversations and that is an amazing part of being here. A conversation about puppetry versus CG and the authenticity of drawing versus computer animation - it is all applicable and essential to what we do here.
JJ: Getting into the INCREDIBLES 2, I have to say that the flow into the first INCREDIBLES film into the second is seamless. It just doesn't feel like there has been a gap in time at all. You pick up right where the last left off. How did you manage to do that?
AJ: You are right in that there are so many years between the two but our level of interest in wanting to know these characters hasn't changed. So if you go in with the honest you can tell that story. Instead of just coming in with the super hero elements, we look at how Bob, Helen and the kids are adjusting. We can relate that to our own lives so coming back to them is like meeting up with old friends and you feel as if time hasn't been lost at all because you know that person so well. I think it's like that with these characters in the film because when we see them again it actually is like time hasn't passed. We have been honest with reintroducing these characters to the audience.
JJ: At the end of the first INCREDIBLES, we all did have that thought wondering what was going to happen to the Parr family. It is like you got inside our heads and in INCREDIBLES 2 you put that right on the screen and now on Bluray. We are thrilled so thank you for that.
AJ: Of course.
JJ: We have to talk about Jack-Jack.
AJ: Yes, we do.
JJ: I was amazing at what you all have done with Jack-Jack.
AJ: Brad does so with weaving character based story into all of it, there are scenes with Jack-Jack The vocalization of Jack-Jack in the scene where Bob is going crazy and Frozone is trying to help with it all but Jack-Jack sees on television an old interview with Helen and he gives the most priceless 'mama' but the little seed planted is what triggers him to turn into these crazy characters. He wants his mom! Brad puts these magical gems in the film that are pretty cool to catch.
JJ: It actually reminded me of a toddler going through the terrible twos! I think I have seen all of that in a toddler a bit but the visual is hilarious.
AJ: If you can turn into jelly-laser-shooting-fire-monsters this would be exactly it.
JJ: With your work in this, what was the process like for you? I know it has to be labor intensive so how do you go about taking Brad's thoughts that are on paper and turn it into the magic we see on the screen?
AJ: I think what is amazing about Brad's storyboarding process and what I love about the story boarding process is that it is the blue print for the foundation of everything we do as we make the film. It's not just little drawings, no, with Brad he wants to figure out everything very early. The great thing about that is we can change things later when we've tried other options and know what will work perfectly. Because we have figured it out early on we know what works and that's kind of where I come in. If you can imagine that there is six drawings to a shot with screen direction, when we are watching it the film is in a critical stage. Story boarding gives us a chance to make all the critical decisions before a scene goes into production before all the time, money and effort takes place. To learn these things early is very beneficial and the film is in its most vulnerable stage so the story boarding is important. I take those story boards and make animatics which is a visualization taking the actual drawing and moving a camera over the art work. This allows us to make crucial decisions and actually see the movie flow shot to shot as the closest approximation to it being later. We are making better and informed decisions.
JJ: Also you aren't working with real actors
AJ: Yes, and sometimes when we are watching it play out we are doing the voices ourselves. I know when I hear my voice I giggle. The danger in that is what if we find things humorous but the outside audience doesn't? To closely approximate what the film will be early on we use our scratch voices, temporary stuff to build the foundation of what the film will eventually become. One of the biggest compliments after screening the story reels is that the audience thought it was the finished film.
JJ: Thank you so much for talking to me today Andy!
Now it the opportunity to speak with Bobby Rubio who brings a bit of both professional and a life long dream of not only working with director Bird but being a part of Pixar!
Jeri Jacquin: Hi Bobby, thanks for taking time today to talk with us as well about the INCREDIBLES 2.
Bobby Rubio: No problem at all.
JJ: I asked Andy this same question now I will ask it to you, how did you get involved with this project?
BR: I casted into the role of the story board artist and we all get picked to do certain projects. I have a background in comic books and love super heroes. I go to San Diego Comic Con every year and have ever since I was a little kid. I think they knew that I could fit into this world.
JJ: With the INCREDIBLES 2 and your love of superheroes, what was it like to find out you were chosen to work on it?
BR: It was a dream come true. The funny thing is when the first movie came out I was at Walt Disney Feature Animation and I remember my buddy telling me 'oh my gosh we are working on a movie and you would love it', when I finally saw it I was so jealous because I wanted to be a part of it. Now here it is fourteen years later and I get a shot with it.
JJ: Tell me your part in INCREDIBLES 2.
BR: I'm a story board artist and I would get the script from the director Brad Bird and he would give me certain sequences that I would story board. I did certain sequences that I'm pretty happy about.
JJ: Working on the whole process, did you think was going to turn out as it did?
BR: In certain aspects yes and in other aspects no. Seeing the first film directed by Brad Bird, I idolized him because I loved his work on The Simpsons, RATATOUILLE and the IRON GIANT. I guess I was a little star struck working with him and he is a great director and I've learned so much from him. The other side was that I also saw that he was human and there was things to figure out. INCREDIBLES 2 was crafted several times before it worked and although it all was hard, it was absolutely fun.
JJ: I'm sure a lot of people think this all looks so easy for you to do. I was saying to Andy that it just flows so seamlessly that it does look easy. Of course I know there are nuances and hardships in making something like this as well yes?
BR: Definitely, I tell people and my friends that it isn't always sunshine and lollipops and it takes a skill to be here. There is such amazing talent here at Pixar and you want to bring your talents to the table as well. You want to keep the ship moving forward and
the momentum going and yes, sometimes it's not easy. With a team like we had and the talent we had working on INCREDIBLES 2, we worked together so well and it was also a lot of fun.
JJ: The collaboration I have seen for myself when I visited and maybe I was having a little geek out moment myself like your experience with Brad but I still saw the ebb and flow between everyone there. I saw everyone sitting and talking with the back and forth and I think that makes where you are so amazing. It shows in what you create and do.
BR: I agree, it’s definitely a team effort. I enjoy collaborating with everybody on the team and Andy was great. The funny thing is that there were three of us from San Diego on the team with Derek Thompson as well. We talked about our home town and what our years there were like.
JJ: In all the work that you've done and you see it now on the screen, two things, what does that mean to you personally and what do you hope audiences get from seeing the film.
BR: Seeing my name in the credits, it’s very gratifying and I know it makes my Mom and Dad proud and my family. I've been told by friends from San Diego 'wow, you made it' and I appreciate it and am grateful to be here. I know when I go to SDCC with my comics and I talk to kids who want advice about what I do. I remember when I was a kid and I wanted to get here, I tried to get as much information as I could. Now I try to be as
inspirational as I can. I try to represent San Diego the best I can, I will always love San Diego as I was born and raised there so I do my best for where I'm from.
JJ: What do you hope audiences take away was the second question.
BR: I hope that audiences know its family first and that even though you are going
through the bad times you can rely on your family that will always be there. Everyone in their family chips in to rise to the occasion and we are all superheroes in our own way.
JJ: Thank you so much Bobby, it means a lot coming from a San Diego-Comic-Con-Pixar fan. Speaking with you brings back my visit to your campus that I hope to do again one day. Congratulations on such an amazing film.
BR: Thank you so much!
I truly enjoyed speaking with both Andy and Bobby about their work on INCREDIBLES 2. The first film as well as the second are so brilliantly done and bring us all the family fun we are happy to say works for all ages. The creation of this family gives us a glimpse of their superhero life as well as the life where they try to be as normal as they can be – a feeling which we can all relate to.
That’s what makes INCREDIBLES 2 work! Picking up where the story left off in 2004 giving us the feeling that no times has passed. Another fantastic part of this is now having both films as part of our Disney Pixar entertainment library so we can visit the Parr family again and again.
Once again thanks to Andy and Bobby for sharing their work on INCREDIBLES 2 with us and they should be proud of their work and bringing us such a flawless film.
In the end – it’s time to suit up again!
Director Donovan Marsh Gives Us the Inside of HUNTER KILLER
Coming to theatres this Friday from director Donovan Marsh and Summit Entertainment is the intense military thriller HUNTER KILLER.
Gerard Butler is first-time-out submarine Captain Joe Glass and this isn’t a run of the mill outing he is about to go on. There is something happening in Russia that has sunk two submarines and Washington wants answers.
There are four parts to the film that come together as Captain Glass looks for the subs, Navy Seals put boots on the ground, the Russians are playing their own game and Washington looks at the political ramifications if one more thing pushes everyone over the brink.
That’s were good directing comes in and Donovan Marsh was given that task being part of the film industry since 1992. Marsh has put himself on the map with his award winning film SPUD which won at the South African Film and Television Awards. That was followed by the sequel SPUD 2: The Madness Continues. He is also in pre-production for the film VALHALLA and I can’t wait to see it. Writing, editing and producing, along with directing, means Marsh is someone who doesn’t shy away from good film and television making.
I had the chance to speak with Donovan Marsh about HUNTER KILLER. He speaks of keeping the film authentic while enjoying a ride aboard the USS Houston for a bit of research.
Jeri Jacquin: Hello Donovan, thanks for speaking with me today.
Donovan Marsh: Oh no worries at all.
JJ: Congratulations on the film. I’m going to jump right in and ask what was it like to direct four different stories in one film?
DM: Oh you are correct about that and its very difficult to not get distracted with different points of view. It’s a matter of taking these four points of view and finding out if there is a way to cut them while ratcheting up the action. That was a real job during the editing. It was a matter of choosing and knowing where I wanted the audience to be looking without distracting them too much. I think the editor did a fantastic job of that.
JJ: Was it difficult for you to do each of those things? I mean one minute your dealing with the Russians, then off to the politics of Washing etc.?
DM: We divided it into subsections and were very methodical about it. I was able to focus on each of them exclusively for a couple of weeks at a time. We did two weeks in the submarine and a week in “Russia” which actually was Bulgaria and it is carefully scripted. If you have a plan and know what you are doing it becomes all about where do you want the audiences attention to go and who’s point of view has the most tension at the time you are watching.
JJ: You made it look seamless.
DM: Thank you!
JJ: You have such a stellar cast in each section of the story you are telling. Gary Oldman and Common together, what an interesting choice.
DM: Yes, you couldn’t get two more different actors. Gary is an Oscar Winning actor for THE DARKEST HOUR and Common is a musician who brings a warmth, energy and naturalism to his performance. It is interesting to watch their contrast in the war room scenes. It was quite a magical thing and I am happy with the outcome.
JJ: Your Seal team, what a group of amazing guys.
DM: Oh thank you, yes, well we put the four of them through hell. Every day it was running, diving, crashing and jumping. I wanted it to feel like the real deal so we put them through a lot of training and go them really fit. They got the culture of the Special Forces and we wanted to make sure to get that right. I’ve had Special Forces guys look at the film and they’ve said ‘that’s exactly how we are with each other’ with the joking and the time to be focused and serious. I was happy to get that accurate.
JJ: The Russian part of the film, I mean its not that hard to believe it could happen.
DM: Look, what would it take to set off a war between America and Russia? What’s it going to mean to both countries? It’s not going to take much. It could be a submarine under the ice. You look at the press of late and how the Russians are posturing with MIG’s or destroyers, you are not sure what could happen next. So playing the what-if game is the delicious part of the film. I mean what if these kinds of events occurred and what would be the outcome is what makes this film.
JJ: The actors are so good.
DM: I wanted to use Russian actors, except for Michael Nyqvist of course who is Swedish, I wanted them to speak Russian. There is an authenticity to them being Russia and knowing the Russian life that I thought important enough to cast them for the film.
JJ: In the submarine, when I heard Gerard Butler was the commander I thought it was an interesting choice.
DM: I know people are use to him kicking ass on land and this is a totally different environment.
JJ: I heard that you and Gerard spent some time on the USS Houston?
DM: That’s right, we went on board from Pearl Harbor and we actually ran through all the scenes of the film. I asked the captain what actually would happen with this or with that. Show me exactly how you would react if this were to really happen. The Captain was game and the crew was game and it was amazing to see it really play out on a US submarine. It was the most expensive prop I think I will ever use again but it was great to see it play out. We wanted to make sure that we depicted it as accurately as possible.
JJ: What did Gerard think of it?
DM: It was amazing, he dressed up as the captain and the crew referred to him as Command Glass which is the name of his character for the film. They treated him like a real captain and he got to do some commanding. It was great for him to feel like he was in character in some respects for the film.
JJ: When you finally starting filming the submarine scenes, you are in pretty tight quarters and there are a lot of people in those quarters. How did you manage that?
DM: Yes, it is encapsulated definitely. I wanted the set that way, I wanted the actors to feel what it was like so there were four walls, floor and ceiling. I built the set on a hydraulic set called a gimbal and was able to tilt it 15 degrees at any given moment. The set was tilting as it would in a real submarine and it felt like you were in it. I never wanted to film the same scene in the same way twice so I took out sections of the wall, brought a crane in and always tried to find other ways of filming it for drama. That was a real challenge but I’m so glad I did it that way because it gives the true feeling of being in a submarine.
JJ: There is a scene where the sub is diving and the crew leans to keep themselves upright.
DM: Yes, that really happened when I was underway on the Houston. If you don’t lean you’ll fall out. I wanted to depict it in the film and it adds so much to that scene.
JJ: What initially drew you to the project?
DM: I get scripts and I’ve seen scripts in this genre and I find it difficult to get a good script in this genre. There have been submarine dramas and such and I wasn’t sure there would be a plot to tell. I read the script and I thought it was fantastic with the twists and turns and not knowing what was going to happen next. I was drawn to the realism of it and thought it was a really good script. I also couldn’t predict the end! There are a lot of action films were half way through you know how its going to end and this one did something different.
JJ: What do you want audiences to take away from seeing HUNTER KILLER?
DM: That’s an interesting question because I think there are many layers to the film. I think you could walk into a theatre and think it a popcorn film and just enjoy it for the thrills and spills. Also, there is a deeper geo-political commentary about war and how collaboration with the enemy is way more important than fighting the enemy. It’s another part of the reason I took the film was the collaboration between America and Russia. I feel it’s important for geo-politics. Movies talk about collaboration and ‘we are all in this together’ and I hope that comes through in the film. I hope that some people will take that away and not just see it as a thrill ride. I also hope people come away with a greater appreciation for the unsung hero’s of the US Navy submariners. We don’t know a lot about them, it’s not the most glamorous job in the world. I wanted to show what they go through and what it’s like to go to war in this encapsulated steel cylinder where you can’t see what’s happening. Instead, all you have is trusting your instrumentation. I want everyone to appreciate the men and women serving. We played this movie on a Naval Base for 1,300 people and they went bananas for it. After the film was the question and answer portion and wives would say ‘thank you for shedding light on what my husband does’ and a child got up to say ‘thank you for showing me what my mother does because I now have a bigger appreciation for what she does’. That was really moving.
Indeed it is, when a film comes along that gives us all an insight into what it takes to do a job then it becomes even more successful. HUNTER KILLER not only does just that but puts us all in the intensity and action in a what-if scenario. The twist and turns bring another layer of the film into focus making us think that in the midst of crisis – anything is possible.
Marsh has taken this genre of film and given it something for us all to think about. From the storytelling to the intricate set design, it all lends itself to bringing us all in on the ride.
HUNTER KILLER opens in theatres this Friday so prepare to dive!
Director Donovan Marsh
HUNTER KILLER: Speaking with Authors Ret. Commander George Wallace USN and
Don Keith Authors of Firing Point
Coming to theatres this Friday from director Donovan Marsh and Summit Entertainment comes a story based on the book Firing Point of cat and mouse when you are a HUNTER KILLER.
This film tells the story of American submarine USS Omaha and Commander Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) who is given orders when an American ship goes down to go into Russian waters. Getting his crew ready, the top brass in Washington led by Admiral Charles Donnegan (Gary Oldman), want answers. So does Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common) and ears for the White House Jayne Norquist (Linda Cardellini).
While the sub is readied, Fisk sends in an elite team of Navy Seals to have boots on the ground. Led by Lt. Bill Bearman (Toby Stephens), his men are ready for the mission’s objective. Especially when it is discovered that Russian President Zakarin (Alexander Diachenko) has been overthrown by Defense Minister (Vladimir Sutrev) and what he proposes is all out war.
Commander Glass arrives to discover that the American submarine has indeed been sunk, but so has a Russian submarine and people are still alive. They rescue Captain Sergei Andropov (Michael Nyqvist) and the level of mistrust is extremely high.
Now would be the time for everyone to take a deep breathe and work together because this isn’t going to be easy – not by a long shot.
HUNTER KILLER is based on the novel by George Wallace and Don Keith. Wallace is a retired Commander in the United States Navy after serving twenty-two years as an officer on nuclear submarines. Keith is the co-author who covers the military and submarines in the work he does.
I had the honor of speaking two them both and this is what they had to say about the book Firing Point and watching their vision come to the big screen.
Jeri Jacquin: Good morning gentlemen, thank you for joining me this morning.
George Wallace: Thanks for talking with us Jeri.
Don Keith: Yes, it is so appreciated.
JJ: I am really curious after seeing the film, what drew you to this story?
GW: There was a number of dynamics that went into writing it. One is that we wanted to write about what the submarine lifestyle is like and at the same time make it exciting because frankly sometimes submarining could be considered boring most of the time. We drew on events that were happening during the time we were writing and projected them into the future. It’s a good story and talks about what submarining is like, especially under the ice, and at the same time it is fun with lots of adventure. We think it will do well in explaining what that life is like.
DK: For me I’m a story teller so I wanted to take an average person and put him in a situation where he does remarkable things. There are 125 people on the submarine and four Seal Team men doing remarkable things in the book and in the movie.
JJ: I like the dual story telling of being on the sub as well as being on the ground to deal with the issues the film is about.
GW: That was the idea frankly, to mix it up with the action for the Seal team and the submarine. The Seals deal with a lot of gunfire where as the submarine is a little more intense.
DK: And contained! Remember you also have the third element going on back in Washington making decisions based on a lot of factors that didn’t necessarily affect the submarine or the Seals. It affected them yes, but they had to take other things in account that were more political than what the people in the sub and on the ground were dealing with.
JJ: What was the researching like for the book?
GW: Well, researching wasn’t a lot actually because I am a retired submarine Captain and I commanded the USS Houston several years ago. I spent a lot of time working with the Seals so I drew on that experience. I did have to talk to Seal friends a little bit for things like the Halo jump and make sure it was right. I mean Don and I have never done a Halo jump.
DK: Nor do I want to. I think the biggest researching was that of Russian names! [laughing] There are so many Russian names in the book.
GW: Yes, we did have a little bit of a struggle with that because we were trying to hard to get them correct and we wanted to make sure we could pronounce them.
DK: I had a spread sheet of all the Russian names in the book.
JJ: Did you use your own code like G for good guy and B for bad guy?
DK: That’s a good idea; I’ll have to do that for my next book.
JJ: How do you feel now after writing the book to know that it would fit in the climate today?
GW: [laughs] We wrote this book in 2004-2005 and back then the Russian economy was in the tank, there were bread lines and real concern if Russia was going to be a viable country anymore because it was falling apart. Obviously it has changed considerably since then and what we were looking at is that the Russians are a very proud people, proud of their country and so what would happen if a Russian in some form of power wanted to restore the Motherland? How would he go about doing that? That is the general gist of what we started with.
JJ: A good ole’ fashion coup.
GW: Yes, that how he felt he had to deal with things with that response. He felt others around him were weak.
JJ: The scene where they go through the mine field, where did you come up with that?
GW: That whole scene came up when I was presented with that problem during Commanding Officer school. This is in the attack center where I had to penetrate a mine field to get to mission success which was a boat on the other side of the mine field. Off the top of my head I had to come up with a tactic to do that. I had to do it on my own. That’s where the idea came from.
JJ: From story idea to book, how long was that.
GW: This book was quick, it sort of flowed.
DK: That happens sometimes.
GW: Yes, everything just fell into place which made it easy to write. Other of our books, those weren’t so easy to write.
DK: We painted ourselves into a corner a lot.
JJ: You two seem to be a good team!
GW: We were very happy with it.
JJ: When you were told this was going to be a film, watching your book go to script, how was that for you to see that happen?
GW: Changing a 690 page book into a 160 page screenplay, that process was not easy. It was painful on several different levels not to mention psychologically. They whacked at a big chunk of our story.
JJ: Messing with your baby.
DK: There are things in the book that obviously didn’t make it in to the film but like George said it’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They kept the strongest storyline to make the best film.
GW: They took what might be a 16 to 18 hour read down to a two hour film.
DK: The other big concern was that they would take the story and muck it up or get it all wrong doing things with technology that doesn’t exist. Thank goodness they did not do that with help from the Navy.
GW: The level they spent to get the authenticity right was amazing. My wife and I went over to see the set that they were filming on in London a couple of years ago. When I walked on the set I thought I was in the control room of a submarine. It was so very realistic.
JJ: So they got the dimensions and everything about a submarine right?
GW: Yes, they got the dimensions right, everything was in the right place and they even got the wiring color right. Some of the signs on the bulk head were actually correct. They even had the sub up on gimbals so that could make the sub rock and roll and dive and rise. It felt like you were on a submarine.
DK: One think you might not notice because the film is so intense and full of action is the scenes were the sailors are doing things they really do on a submarine. Things hanging on the wall or guys on the exercise bikes, you can really see what life on a submarine is like.
GW: It was pretty realistic.
DK: I think the Navy will see it as a two our recruiting film because people are going to look at this and say ‘that’s pretty cool!’
JJ: How do you deal with the intense proximity inside the sub?
GW: Being a submariner it just feels natural to me, it feels comfortable. Mr. Butler and Donovan Marsh went to see on the USS Houston for a few days so they got to see what it was really like. The rest of the actors spent time on the set that felt like they were on a real sub. The USS Houston Commander Scott McGinnis said that Mr. Butler was a true gentleman during their visit and when one of the sailors asked him to do a Mother Day’s greeting for his Mom and he did it. Of course the others wanted to do one as well and Gerard did them all.
JJ: So once you went to book to script to screen, what did you think of the final product?
GW: I think the final product is great and tells the story we wanted to tell. We understand it’s a bit different from the book but its also a different audience. I thought it was very, very good.
DK: I’m a story teller by trade being I tell lies for money writing fiction but I consider the perfect story taking average people and putting them in situations were they can do remarkable things and that’s exactly what the book did and I’m proud to say it’s also what the movie does as well.
JJ: It is intense to watch that’s for sure. Watching it I’m holding my breath and leaning toward the screen waiting for the next thing to happen.
GW: Yes, that what will happen.
JJ: When people see the film, what do you want viewers to come away with?
DK: For me, I’d like the viewers to have enjoyed a very exciting motion picture but also have a deep appreciation for what these service members do. The submarine service, or the silent service as it is so aptly named, gives people a look at what they do. I mean the ultimate way to deal with the enemy is not having them know where you are but knowing you can do a lot of damage if attacked. I hope people have appreciation for them knowing they are on the front line.
GW: What can I add to that? Our goal going into this was to tell the story of submarining and I think the movie does that and I think the book does that. To have the average submariners come away saying ‘this is us…this is our story’ and that means everything to me.
JJ: Thank you for your time and congratulations on Firing Point and the film HUNTER KILLER.
This film brings action, adventure and appreciation for what our military go through both the Navy Seals and submariners. HUNTER KILLER is definitely a thriller in the sense that the story telling is filled with unexpected twists and turns. So grab that huge buck of popcorn and hold on to your seats because this is a ride from start to finish.
In the end – courage runs deep!
Ret. Commander George Wallace, USN
Don Keith, Author
Want a copy for your very own? Well, we can make that happen! Email email@example.com CHRISTMAS SPECIALS in the subject with your name and address in the body and good luck!!
The HBO Limited Series
Starring the stunning Amy Adams and we are thrilled to offer a copy
with SHARP in the subject line along with your name and address and good luck!!
HBO's New and Exciting Series
Taking place in New York City, this "witty drama" follows the Roy family - headed by the aging patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his four children - who together control one of the biggest media communications and entertainment conglomerates in the world. The Roy's story is compelling and often comedic, as they out-maneuver each other through cut-throat family and business dynamics, while contemplating what's in store once their father passes.
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BLACKkKLANSMAN Makes a Statement on Bluray
This week on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and DVD from director Spike Lee and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the memoir to screen of BLACKkKLANSMAN.
In Colorado Springs, Colorado it is the 1970's and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is about to become the first black officer in their department. Placed in the records department, he knows that the other officers are talking about him. Knowing he isn't going to be able to take that much longer, he applies to do undercover work.
His personal life is also about to change when he meets Patrice (Laura Harrier) at a rally given by civil rights leader Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins) at the black student union. On their way home, Patrice is pulled over by a local racist cop and Ron knows he must do something. Transferred to the intelligence division of the police department, immediately he finds his first case. Using his 'white voice', Ron calls Walter Breachway (Ryan Eggold) who is the leader of the Colorado Springs chapter of the KKK expressing interest in the group.
Talking on the phone is one thing, but meeting up in person isn't going to work out to well for Ron so he is joined by Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) who is the white face behind the white voice. He meets Walter and listens to the rhetoric and meets more of the group members. Keeping it going, Ron takes it up a notch calling Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace) and beginning regular conversations with him. But, one of the
members thinks that the white Stallworth is really a Jew and they learn some of the KKK members are military.
Duke comes to Colorado Springs to be part of Stallworth's joining of the Klan and they soon learn that someone is threatening Patrice's life. As quickly as it all began, no one could have possibly seen the direction and lengths the Klan members are going to and Ron isn't about to let any of it happen. There is also one more person that he isn't about to let walk away from the things he has done.
Stallworth is going to have the last say!
Washington as Ron Stallworth is a man going through changes without even realizing he needed to see the changes. Becoming the first black officer in his department is clearly going to be emotionally strenuous but it is what happens after that appointment that truly has an impact. Meeting Patrice and taking on the KKK with the help of Zimmerman is going to be the most impactful and most dangerous thing he has ever done. Washington gives a stellar performance that doesn't stop from the moment he is on screen to the films end.
Driver as Zimmerman isn't sure how to handle what Stallworth is suggesting for the investigation of the KKK. Once it begins, ever move he makes can be his last. He has to be in synch with Stallworth in order to be the face behind the voice of a supposed white man and racist. Driver continues with this film to give another memorable performance filled with the emotion of a man that can relate to the hate his partner feels.
Eggold as Breachway just scares the living dickens out of me with his performance. There is something sinister about the way he looks. Having seen his performances on the series THE BLACKLIST and his newest series NEW AMSTERDAM, this role is
not only totally different from those but I can't stop watching the depths in which he portrays this racist leader.
Grace as Duke is totally enraptured with Stallworth and their continuing conversations all the while showing that he is just another ignorant individual who hates for the pure sake of hating. That's what Grace brings to the role, not being afraid of taking this character straight into our faces so we can join Washington in hurting our necks from shaking our heads in disbelief.
Harrier as Patrice has no idea that the man she is seeing is a police officer and that's for her own safety. She is a strong woman who believes that everything is worth taking on and fighting for. She sees something in Stallworth and trusts that he believes in their cause of justice, even if sometimes he has to make sure she is as far away from what he does as possible.
Other cast include Jasper Paakkonen as Felix Kendrickson, Paul Hauser as Ivanhoe,
Ashlie Atkinson as Connie, Michael Buscemi as Jimmy Creek, Ken Garito as Sgt. Trapp,
Damaris Lewis as Odetta, Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Mr. Turrentine, Harry Belefonte as Jerome, Robert Burke as Chief Bridges, Frederick Weller as Patrolman Landers, Nicholas Turturro as Walker and Alec Baldwin as Dr. Kennebrew Beauregard.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.
The Bonus Features of BLACKkKLANSMAN include A Spike Lee Joint - Producer Jordan Peele, cast and film subject Ron Stallworth discuss the unique experience of working with iconic director Spike Lee and BLACKkKLANSMAN Extended Trailer Featuring Prince's 'Mary Don't You Weep'.
The 4K Ultra Combo Pack includes the 4K Ultra HD Bluray, Bluray and Digital and has
the same bonus features as the Bluray version all in stunning 4K resolution. Also included is Movies Anywhere which is the digital app that allows consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place through streaming and downloading.
The script for BLACKkKLANSMAN is written by Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott and
David Rabinowitz along with Spike Lee. The story comes from Ron Stallworth's book BLACK KLANSMAN that was released in 2014. Immediately it received the Grand Prix at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
Spike Lee has once again brought a film that, although set in the 1970's, resonates today with the themes of hate, anger, fear and those who will bring all of it down. They put their lives on the line to bring the dark evil out into the light and Lee is well known for it.
BLACKkKLANSMAN brings out stellar performances from a cast that clearly embraces the story Stallworth tried to tell. In the midst of what is going on in our world, it could be easy to forget that the film is set in the 1970s.
The use of humor gives a mixture of a momentary laugh followed by an uncomfortable shifting. Taking on racism full force, the film doesn't seem to give one wit if it makes you laugh or makes you cry - just feel something, anything, as long as it resounds in the affirmative so acceptance becomes the norm and not the occasional. Fight for what is right for not just some but for all.
In the end - infiltrate hate!
HBO Tells the Story of STOLEN DAUGHTERS: Kidnapped by Boko Haram
Currently on HBO is the stark and, at times, difficult story about the story that made world wide headlines with director Gemma Atwal’s STOLEN DAUGHTERS: Kidnapped by Boko Haram.
In 2014, in the small village of Chibok in Northern Nigeria, there was a school attended by young girls seeking an education. One night, they will be awoken to the sounds of gun fire as men claiming to be soldiers tell the girls to get up and go outside. Believing they were soldiers sent to protect them, it quickly becomes all to clear that these are not in fact soldiers, nor are they going to protect the girls.
Instead, it turns out they are Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group that has been waging war in Nigeria for several years. There plans are to take the girls and through a series of videos, the families are told they will be sold. A scattered few of the girls manage to escape but the rest are taken deep in the Sambisa Forest where Boko Haram has a camp.
It would take world wide attention to the plight of the girls before people became involved. The Nigeria government was not swift in helping and it would be three years before an agreement is reached with Boko Haram and less than 150 girls are returned to their families. Now called the Chibok Girls, they are under the protection of the Nigerian government. Aisha Al-Hassan is the Nigerian Minister of Women's Affairs who visits the girls at the safe house and introduce the filmmakers to their living situation.
Hannutu is now 21 and she speaks about her anxiety and that staying at the safe house makes her feel better and keeps the thoughts of the Boko Haram away. Surrounded by the familiar, Al-Hasan explains that when the girls first came they were afraid of everything. The same government that is protecting them is the same government that controls the narrative about what the girls went through. Also explains to the girls that the documentary about their experience is being made yet they are not to answer questions about being in the Sambisa Forest because if they do, the girls that are still missing could be in jeopardy. Yet, a few of the girls manage to slip the documentary filmmakers their diaries of the time in captivity.
The Northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri is considered the place where Boko Haram began. Although the Nigerian military are in place, Boko Haram is also in place and not about to give up the city. The young girls from Chibok aren't the only girls being taken by the Boko Haram. Those that manage to get away from the Sambisa Forest run to Maidurguri and are called 'Forgotten Girls' like 18 year old Zahra.
Hasatu Allamim of the city's Women's Rights Activist believe there are as many as 2,000 women and girls that have been taken by Boko Haram. Unlike the Chibok girls, Zahra does not have the same fear talking about her experience explaining what was expected of her and other girls. She tells of her own participation in the abduction of other girls as a way of staying alive herself. Even so, she is haunted by one particular young girl.
In the capital city of Abuja at the government safe house, the girls wait for visits from their families. All of these girls have worries about what they have experienced, their emotional injuries and there obvious outward physical scars. Bringing in counselors, their goal is to help the girls with their transitions and finding that spot inside where they can become more than victims of Chibok.
Parents and family make the long trek to be reunited with their girls. The kidnapping of the Chibok girls has also affected family members because life went on while they were gone and some of it tragic. Yet, when they see the girls, there are smiles and love open for them. For some of them that is.
The Boko Haram have also taken over northern Nigeria and driven so many people out of their villages due to famine. That has brought them to the city of Maiduguri where the Boko Haram have infiltrated into neighborhoods were no one dare speak of them. That doesn’t mean the questions aren’t being asked about the other girls and their fate. The government insists that negotiations are still in play for the release of more girls.
What these girls have experiences is nothing short of miraculous in that they are discovering life again and making choices so that they can move forward. The next generation of children are caught up in the madness created by the Boko Haram as it is not just the girls they take. Young boys are trained to be soldiers and taken from their mother’s and families as well.
For the Chibok girls, the world is opening up for them as they are receiving help and an introduction back into the world. Education also awaits the girls back at a dormitory at AUN that now includes security. But the camps of fleeing villages form the Boko Haram are growing larger and counselors are trying to reach out for them as well listening to their stories of murder, missing family members and fear.
HBO has brought a riveting, informative and heart breaking documentary to us all. Of course many have heard the story in bits and pieces about what has been happening with the people of Nigeria and, for a brief time, about the girls of Chibok. As with most news cycles, it all eventually fades and we never truly know the story or the outcome.
Director Atwal pieces together the stories that these now young women tell, as much as they can or will tell, about their experiences. It is incredible that in their fear, they openly talk (as much as they can) about the day they were abducted and trying to find their way back into the world.
I am personally in awe of these young women as there is no way to ever put ourselves in their shoes. Their lives are forever changed, their families can only be relieved at the young women’s homecoming and the effects of the Boko Haram are far reaching and continues to be a destructive force in Nigeria.
This documentary is worthy of being watched by everyone for its grace in the beautiful eyes of those who haven’t given up on the world when it would have been so easy to do but instead want to help others. These young women now see futures that, yes is quite different than they had ever imagined, but they see a future and that’s everything.
Where are the others and when will they be safely returned – or can they ever be?
It's the Return of The Dude in THE BIG LEBOWSKI 20th Anniversary Limited Edition
Coming to 4K HD and Bluray from writers/directors/producers Joel and Ethan Coen along with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the film that has become an iconic classic with THE BIG LEBOWSKI 20th Anniversary Limited Edition.
The Dude (Jeff Bridges) is a laid back Los Angelino who remains in a chilled state of mind, that is until one night when two thugs breaks into his home and rough him up. Looking for a Jeff Lebowski, The Dude lays out the reasoning that there is another Jeff Lebowski who happens to be very rich and obviously they have made a mistake. Realizing their mistake, the one thing the two thugs can't take back is a pee'd on carpet.
Upset with what happened, The Dude explains to bowling buddies Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) and how he really liked that rug. Walter has an idea, go see the rich Jeff Lebowski and get some kind of restitution! That's exactly what he does and meets the very cranky Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston) who says that it's not his problem.
The Dude isn't about to walk away empty handed when he tells Lebowski's assistant Brandt (Philip Seymour Hoffman) that he has permission to take any carpet in the house. On the way out, The Dude meets Lebowski's wife Bunny (Tara Reid) who is responsible for the attack because she owes loan sharks. Her greeting to The Dude is nothing short of money based and a proposition for which he walks away amused.
Happy with his new carpet, The Dude is surprised a few days later to receive a telephone call from Brandt with a financial offer. Bunny has been kidnapped with a demand for a million dollars and rich Lebowski wants to use poor Lebowski to drop off the ransom and get a bit of money for his trouble. Given a case and a cell phone, he is to wait for a call telling him where to drop off the money but Walter feels the need to be with his friend when it happens.
On the drive, Walter also comes up with his own plan. He believes Bunny has concocted this whole thing for the money so why don't they just keep the money for themselves. Throwing a case off a local bridge, the two men see the kidnappers take the ransom and run. Later talking it over at the bowling alley, they discover that The Dude's car is gone and so are their riches.
The Dude is contacted by Lebowski's daughter Maude (Julianne Moore) who explains that her father's wife is a porn star and that she also thinks Bunny is faking all of it. Upset that the ransom came out of the family's foundation, she asks The Dude to get it all back. If that isn't wacky enough, now Lebowski is mad that The Dude screwed up the drop and men with German accents invade his bath saying they are the real kidnappers.
The cops find The Dude's car but the cash is gone and the pee thugs take him to see porn maker Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara) who wants the money to cover money Bunny owes him! After a drugging, cops and being thrown out of a car - who should drive by in a red sports car? Bunny. So what gives? Well, that's what you will have to discover for yourself because, truth be told, you have to see it to believe it.
Yet, The Dude will abide!
Bridges as The Dude is absolutely and without a doubt pure perfection. He is a laid back human being who just lives in the moment and doesn't want anything that will mess with his calm. Bridges just embraces every second of this and makes it look completely easy and smooth. I suppose it doesn't hurt that he gets to be very comfortable in every stitch of clothing and appearance which might make being The Dude more of a joy than a job. This character is completely endearing and just wants his carpet and that basically leads to the chaos that follows. The moral of the story might be that bare floors are less of a hassle.
Goodman as Walter is the complete opposite of The Dude. He isn't about to let anyone or anything challenge his way of dealing with things yet he sees nothing wrong with his solutions. The Dude truly cares about his friend but there are moments where his calm-rage is absolutely frightening. This is such an amazing role for Goodman because he gets to be as out there as he wants to be and it fits him well. Buscemi as Donny is such a loveable character who just wants to be in on everything but doesn't have the ability to really keep up. This is probably the most endearing role I've seen Buscemi perform and he just proves he has always had the wide range ability but has gotten himself stuck in toughened roles. I'd like to have seen more of this type from him.
Moore as Maude is just as creepy as she can possibly be. She is clearly a control freak and will do anything to keep things moving the way she wants them to move. The way she handles The Dude is emotional strong arming to my way of thinking and her seduction manner leaves allot to be desired - but hilarious. Huddleston as the elder and richer Lebowski believes he is better than his poorer counterpart and believes he is justified in using the loser. He has The Dude jumping through hoops and doesn't exactly count on him to figure anything.
Hoffman as Brandt is, what I called, the Lebowski-bitch in that he is perfectly happy serving his boss and putting The Dude in one hell of a mess. Hoffman has always managed to stun me with every role he does and it is fantastic to revisit a film that gave us all a glimpse into what he became capable of on screen. Reid as Bunny plays the role of a trophy wife who wants more and more of the almighty dollar and doesn't seem ashamed to make that known to, well, anyone.
Other cast include David Thewlis as Know Harrington, John Turturro as Jesus Quintana, Jon Polito as Da Fino, Peter Stormare as Uli, Torsten Voges as Franz and Flea as Kieffer, Jimmie Gilmore as Smokey, Jack Kehler as Marty and Sam Elliott as The Stranger.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.
The Ultra HD Combo Pack of THE BIG LEBOWSKI 20th Anniversary Limited Edition includes The Dude’s Life - , The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski Ten Years Later, Making of THE BIG LEBOWSKI, The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever’s Story, Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of The Dude, Interactive Map, Jeff Bridges Photo Book, Photo Gallery and so much more!
On 4K Ultra HD included in the combo pack of Bluray, Digital and Movies Anywhere brings a sharper pictures delivering a multi dimensional experience, Bluray that has exclusive extras and theatre quality surround sound, Digital allowing viewing just about anywhere and Movies Anywhere with the app that keeps your films stored for viewing anytime!
THE BIG LEBOWSKI has become such an iconic film that has brought some of the coolest lines to ever be uttered. Of course The Dude also has made its way into costumes for parties and Halloween with a simple robe and slippers being totally recognizable.
The film is hilarious, crafty, absurd, twisted, rich vs. poor, dysfunctional family and unusual friendships all rolled into a story that is so far fetched it might even be believable.
Now, THE BIG LEBOWSKI is back to entertain us once again but this time in our own homes. The most amazing thing about this film is that it is just as hilarious today as it was 20 years ago and open to a new generation that can appreciate its comedy, originality and fantastic ensemble cast.
In the end - he'd rather be bowling!
Tis' the Season and we love making the holidays much more fun and giving!
These are the best animated Christmas specials that any family can have. They are each filled with such amazing stories and are totally generational!
THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB: A New Dragon Tattoo Story
In theatres from director Fede Alvarez and Columbia Pictures is a continuation story of someone who finds herself once again as THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB.
Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) has once again become invisible although wanted by the police. Making it her goal to stop innocent people from being hurt, she manages to do so while faded into the background…but not for long.
She is approached by Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant) who has created a program called Firewall when he was a NSA employee. This program has nuclear codes all over the world and now believes that he created a monster that everyone else wants to control. He asks Lisbeth to retrieve it so it can be destroyed.
She agrees and gets inside the NSA’s computer as a horrified Edwin Neeham (Lakeith Stanfield), NSA security, looks on trying to stop it. He immediately locates where the hack has come from and leaves for Europe. Neeham isn’t the only one looking for Firewall as Lisbeth is attacked. She turns to Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason), the Millennium journalist and even though their relationship turned rocky, she trusts him. He discovers that a group of Russian criminals are after Firewall.
Keeping track of Balder, she also worries for his young son August (Christopher Convery) as who ever else wants Firewall would have no trouble killing him. Keeping him safe becomes important to Lisbeth even if her hardened shell is still in tact.
Blomkvist turns to Gabriella Grane (Synnove Lund), Deputy Director of the Swedish Secret Service to discover who the men are with the spider tattoos. She has her own agenda keeping an eye on Neeham who she believes is also looking for Lisbeth.
With the cat and mouse happening between she, the spider tattoo goons and Neeham, there is one person she never expected to see. Someone from her past who has picked up the mantel of a father who is responsible for how Lisbeth came to be – Camilla (Sylvia Hoeks).
Lisbeth Salander makes no exceptions for evil!
Foy as Salander gives a stoic performance in the role of a character that doesn’t show much emotion. Everything that she shares emotion wise is all in her eyes. With every plan you can see the wheels turning jumping the track whenever she needs to change gears. This is a far cry from her comfy life in highly successful series The Crown but that’s the point of growing as an actress – bowl cut your hair and don’t be afraid to jump on a motorcycle.
Merchant as Balder is a man clearly afraid that those who have Firewall are going to use it to harm more than protect. Balder’s role might not be a big one but it sets the story up for his castmate. Convery as August is a young boy who is as smart as his father but that doesn’t mean his fate isn’t being determined but someone smart but psychotic. This character is like Lisbeth in that he keeps his emotions in check trusting that he will get home to his mother.
Stanfield as Neeham panics when he sees Firewall has been hacked and knows the only thing he can do is find out who took it and why. Neeham’s character is just as determined as Lisbeth but he has one obstacle. Lund as Grane is the SAPO and has already threatened Neeham with deportation if he tries to interfere with the investigation but trust goes only so far.
Gudnason as Blomkvist is thrilled to hear from Lisbeth because his feelings for her haven’t changed. At the same time, the journalist in him sees the potential of cracking open the mystery of what is happening by following Lisbeth forward. Hoeks as Camilla is the sister none of us wants to deal with. The history that Camilla and Lisbeth share is of two survivors of an abusive father – one turns to trying to save others while the other turns to destruction. Hoeks is completely disturbing in her portrayal and scenes with Foy are intense.
Other cast include Carlotta von Falkenhayn as a young Camilla, Vicky Krieps as Erika Berger, Cameron Britton as Plague, Andreia Pelic as Maria, and Mikael Persbrandt as Zalachenko.
Let me first get this out of the way, the Noomi Rapace is my Lisbeth Salander and in 2008 when THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was released I could not have been more thrilled with the film. This was followed months later with THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and months later with THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. This was the best three films I have ever seen and all released in one year proving that it is possible to make stunning films without two and three year gaps.
In 2011, the remake hit the theatres with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and as much as I enjoy these two actors, I wasn’t thrilled with the film. I don’t mind saying it either, there was absolutely no reason to remake it and I could not get behind the choice for Lisbeth Salander.
The choice of Claire Foy as the new Lisbeth Salander has one thing in her favor, this isn’t a remake. Instead it’s actually more of an explanation of where this character came from and how the past is never far behind any of us. Foy captures bits of the 2009 Salander but clearly makes her own mark as well.
As for the film, I enjoyed it but also have to say that the plot was fairly straight forward and slightly predictable. I feel as if I’ve seen these plot points before in other films and wished there was more umph to it. The action is definitely something I would expect to see in the Millennium series and the film lives up to that most certainly.
Understand that with the death of the series creator Steig Larsson in 2004, the characters are picked up by David Lagercrantz. This is his first novel taking over the series and it was released in 2015. It is not an easy thing to bring in another writer to keep a series going because, and let’s be honest, they aren’t Larsson. That being said Lagercrantz manages to keep Lisbeth Salander alive by bringing her past forward for us all to understand. He also seemed to take great care in being true to the complexities created by Larsson
For those who love the Millennium series, this new story and film is interesting and full of action. Foy gives Salander new life and if they plan to continue the films, keep the stories fresh and the fan base will stay true.