Blog Archives

Making A Film Starring Children: Overcoming The Difficulties

There’s that old saying: ‘Never work with children’. In some ways it’s completely true. Working with children and animals adds an extra set of rules, pressures and restraints. It adds extra stress, extra responsibility and extra worry but can also be rewarding in many ways.

I used to work in a school and made lots of films with the children so understand the problems working with kids. We’ve also had child actors in a number of our films such as ‘Yesterday‘, ‘The Field‘ and more recently ‘Wonderful’. We also run filmmaking workshops with primary school children around Hull so I’ve worked with lots of kids and hopefully my experience may help others working on a film project with them!

Of course, all children are different, but more often than not all kids will respond to the following:

FILL ‘EM WITH TREATS

Sweets

Kids love sweets and chocolate and junk food. Mum and dad may not approve but, if you want to keep a kid happy, fill them full of sugar and junk! It makes them like you, knowing that you want to give them stuff to eat, and is also great as a bribing tool. “Let’s do one more take then you can have some sweets!” Just beware of the sugar rush and the inevitable comedown!

The Field, Berry Productions, Hull, Indie Film

When we filmed ‘The Field’, we shot a scene in an actual sweet shop. This was the best location possible as I basically bribed the kids – I told them I’d buy them all a bunch of sweets at the end of the shoot, if they knuckled down and got the job done!

GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO DO

Chance Monahan, Wonderful, Berry Productions, Hull
Working on a film set can be long and somewhat boring if you’re an actor. Lots of waiting around with nothing to do until it’s time for a take. Kids get bored easily and will soon get distracted, wander off or start messing around. The easiest thing to do to relieve them of boredom is take some books/comics for them to read and games for them to play. Ipads and kindles, even games on phones, will keep kids distracted for hours. Again can be used as bribing tools as well! We also take along an extra camera so they can film stuff for themselves. Sometimes the footage they shoot is great for the extra features!

The Field, Berry Productions, Indie Film, Hull

When making ‘The Field’ we had a still photographer with us who took the kids away whilst we were setting up and did some great, fun photoshoots with them!

LONG HOURS = TEARS

Keeping a shoot as short as possible is a must. We all get tired after a long days shoot, but adults (at least most adults) have the ability to plough through their tiredness and move on. Kids can find it hard and, especially with younger children, long hours can get to them. We’ve experienced tears and tantrums towards the end of the day so do try and keep your shoots as short as possible.

KIDS LIKE TO TALK

Lots. When we were making ‘The Field’ it was virtually impossibly to get a moments silence. It makes it extremely stressful for the crew to get on with their job and keep focussed on their task in hand when someone is jibber-jabbering constantly in your ear. The trick is not to lose patience with them. It might be a good idea to have someone on set that’s sole role is to keep the kids entertained. Someone they can talk to and not disturb.

KEEP IT FUN

The Field, Berry Productions, Jenko, Hull

Kids like to have fun. They like to enjoy themselves. Don’t we all? Making a film is essentially work – and hard work at that. Keeping it fun is vitally important, especially when children are involved. If the kids think of it as working, with bossy adults telling them what to do, they’ll stop wanting to get involved making it harder for everyone. If its fun, everyone’s enjoying themselves and having a good time, then the children will give you a good performance and keep being excited to come back and film the rest of the scenes.

There are many brilliant child actors out there and, if you’re willing to put in the extra effort it takes to work with them, can be a great asset to your film. Children are the main stars of our film ‘The Field’ and it is their innocence, unique take on the world and sense of adventure that make the film work really well!

If you’re working with kids then good luck, keep calm and work with them to make something great! I look forward to seeing what you make!

Advertisements

Wonderful – Day 10

Day 10 strip

24th October 2015

Our last major scene to shoot involved comic books, shop fronts, and a couple of thugs! And it proved a tricky one to prepare for. Originally it was set down a supermarket aisle, but finding a supermarket to let us film in was proving tricky. So we changed the scene to be set down an alleyway next to a comic book shop.

Shop Front 2

After much searching we discovered a great shop front in Oresome Jewellery next to Martin’s Alley, down Humber Street in Hull and we were set to go! The ladies at Oresome were brilliant, allowing us to use their workshop as our base whilst we filmed out in the cold! We put comic books in the glass windows and named our shop ‘Old Joe’s Comics’ in homage to Old Joe from our last film ‘The Field‘.

Shop Front 3

Katy D’Arcy played our shop worker, whilst Lee Williams and Callum Smith played two thugs that confront our lead star, David Aston, down the alley.

Shop Front 5

It was cold and raining off and on throughout the day, so we had to try to keep warm – a challenge for David who was freezing in his thin, lycra Mr Wonderful costume! We did fit in a great lunch at Thieving Harry’s across the street, which warmed us up for a while!

Shop Front 1

We battled on through the cold and managed to shoot a great scene! With only a few short sections left to film, the main bulk of filming for Wonderful is now complete!

Shop Front 4

Where are all the AMAZING actresses?

When I ask people to name a few of the greatest actors – and I mean those that have such a grand presence on screen that everyone watching them stops whatever they’re doing and pays attention – most of the time that list is comprised of men. Checking out top actors and actresses lists online too, again the top thespians are usually male. Names such as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Paul Newman etc are always in the top ten and, probably deserve to be.

Personally, three names always come to my mind when this question is asked. Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Morgan Freeman.

McKellen, Stewart, Freeman

Be it their age, I’m not sure, but they always own the screen in whatever scenes they are in and completely steel the show. They seem to radiate authority, respect and general brilliance. There are many, many other great actors that are almost at that level for me – but fall just short of that extra something. I do believe it is an age thing. When other actors that I think are brilliant, such as Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender and Christian Bale, reach the age of McKellen, Stewart and Freeman, perhaps they will also be as grand on screen.

So there are many male actors who have that special something on screen, and many that are almost there. So my question is… where are all the women? Generally, the actresses that are still alive and working today, that regularly appear in the top lists are the likes of Meryl Streep,  Helen Mirren and Judi Dench. Once again, they are older, wiser and prove time after time that they know their craft. They are undoubtedly amazing actresses, but still, for me anyway, they just don’t reach that next level in everything I see them in – some films yes, but not everything.

Streep, Mirren, Dench

Is this just because I’m a man and I feel more of a connection with males? True, when I’ve asked this question to males they always give a list full of men. When asked to females the list varies between the sexes a little more.  I don’t think this is a sexist thing. I, and all the guys I’ve asked, can all give examples of great actresses and amazing roles that they have played, but rarely are they in our top ten. Maybe it is that men don’t connect as well with leading ladies, or perhaps, and I think more likely, it’s that actresses aren’t given the opportunities to shine as much as the men.

I’m putting the question forward – who are the greatest onscreen actors in your opinion? And please don’t just pick your favourite because some of my favourite actors are not BRILLIANT – just very good. I’m talking about the screen stealers, those that you believe every word they say, every move they make, those who’s every breath has been carefully planned.

So… who are the greatest actors and… where are all the AMAZING actresses? And why aren’t these actresses usually in a man’s top list? Let me know in the comments below! Let’s have the discussion!

——————————————-

Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.

A New Year… A New Film!

2014 seems to have passed pretty quickly. Is it simply because we’re getting old? If that’s the case then by the time we’re 60 all we’ll have to do is blink and another year will have gone by! Whatever the reason, there’s no stopping this year coming to a close. And when I think back and realise that the last short film we made was in January it gets me worried. That means it’s almost been a year since we last made anything!

Of course that’s not true. We’ve done some music videos and we’ve all been involved in our own personal and work projects. But I am now itching get a new film made! And, just as it happens, that’s exactly what we’re going to do!

The script for our new venture is written (save a few tweaks here and there) and we’ve already got the beast cast! I’m not going to give away anything about the plot just yet, but in early January we’re going to be shooting some teaser poster images for the film and then (hopefully!) by the end of Jan we’ll be all systems go!

We’ve got some great actors working with us on this project:

David

David Aston is taking the lead role in our new film! We worked with him on ‘The Field’ and ‘The New Family Corporation’.

Jo

Jo Gallagher is back working with us again for our new project. We worked with her on ‘The Field’ and ‘New Family Corporation’.

1511313_10203041164579253_8799974045731927308_n

Richie Donaldson is new to Berry Production, but we’ve seen what he can do and really like his style! It will be great to work with him!

 

 

We’ve come a long way since our last film in terms of honing our craft and filling our houses up with better equipment. This is going to be a big leap in terms of quality for us and we’re really excited to get started!

Please keep checking with us for updates and keep on supporting indie film!

 

 

 

 


 

 

Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.


 

 

 

Batman – An All Star Line-up (part 3)

Batman - cover

PREVIOUS – BATMAN’S VILLAINS


WARNING: This article contains… dum dum dum… SPOILERS!

We’ve been through the various actors who have played, or are still to play, Batman and those that dare to oppose him. However, everyone needs friends… even the big black bat! Let’s do this in order of the films…

ALLIES, FRIENDS and OTHERS

Who does the Bat class as his BFFs?


Batman - Michael GoughMichael Gough – ALFRED

Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin

“I have no wish to fill my few remaining years grieving for the loss of old friends. Or their sons.”

There couldn’t be a Batman film without Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s loyal helper. Michael Gough played the character for four films and helped out three different Batmen!

Perfect for the role of Alfred, Gough delivered every line with class and style. He was so believable, even in the disaster that was Batman & Robin! He has one of those acting styles that make’s us wish that we had our own Alfred or that he was our Granddad, telling us stories from long ago! Michael Gough passed away in 2011 at the great age of 94.

Bat Rating: Batman - 4 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Out of Africa (1985)


Kim Basinger – Vicki ValeBatman - Kim Basinger

Batman

” Let’s face it. You’re not exactly normal, are you?”

Kim Basinger played the part of Vicki Vale, love interest for Bruce Wayne. During the 80’s, Basinger was at the top of her game and on the wall of every teenage boy! It is understandable why she was cast as the damsel in distress in a superhero movie.

Basinger played the character well, but was a little one dimensional. I would have liked to have seen her a little less in distress and little move feisty!

Bat Rating: Batman - 3 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: L.A. Confidential (1997)


Batman - Billy Dee WilliamsBilly Dee Williams – HARVEY DENT

Batman

“We have enough problems in this city without worrying about ghosts or goblins.”

Only a side role in Batman, Billy Dee Williams plays the role of Harvey Dent like like every other role he has been in and I would have liked to have seen more from his character.

Having Harvey Dent in the film, hints at a Two-Face storyline but this was never continued as Williams didn’t appear in the sequel.

Bat Rating: Batman - 2 Star

Best Non-Batman Film: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)


Batman - Chris O'DonnellChris O’Donnell – ROBINBatman - Chris O'Donnell Actor

Batman Forever, Batman & Robin

“Holey rusted metal, Batman!”

Robin was always going to arrive in the films at some point and he did in Batman Forever with Chris O’Donnell taking on the role, just beating Leo DiCaprio. He was a rising star, young, athletic and handsome, he seemed to have everything it took to be a Hollywood heartthrob.

The only let-down is that, in the Batman films at least, O’Donnell isn’t the best actor in the world. In fact his performance in Batman & Robin is believed by many to be the reason his career took a downward tumble.

Bat Rating: Batman - 1 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Scent of a Woman (1992)


 Nicole Kidman – DR. CHASE MERIDIANBatman - Nicole Kidman

Batman Forever

“You like strong women. I’ve done my homework. Or do I need skin-tight vinyl and a whip?”

Nicole Kidman took on the role of Dr. Chase Meridian, another love interest for Bruce Wayne/Batman. She played the part as well as she could, she had a bit of fight in her but ultimately was still just the damsel in distress for Batman to save.

Kidman’s career took off after Batman Forever and is now a household name. She didn’t reprise her role in Batman & Robin… which is probably a good thing!

Bat Rating: Batman - 3 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Moulin Rouge! (2001)


Batman - Alicia SilverstoneAlicia Silverstone – BATGIRLBatman - Alicia Silverstone Actor

Batman & Robin

“Chicks like you give women a bad name.”

Alicia Silverstone, like Chris O’Donnell (Robin), seemed to have everything going for her. She had starred in a couple of successful movies, and had a youthful attractiveness to her.

Unfortunately she chose to star as Barbara Wilson AKA Batgirl in Batman & Robin. Her career never really took off, possibly due to the flop of this film. Yes, she looked good in the Batgirl outfit but cheesy dialogue and a terrible storyline ruined everything about this film!

Bat Rating: Batman - 2 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Clueless (1995)


Batman - Michael CaineMichael Caine – ALFRED

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Who better to play Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler and Batman’s number one advisor than the genius that is Michael Caine! A Christopher Nolan favourite, Caine’s portrayal of Alfred is brilliant and some of his finest work.

He makes the character so believable. You feel every sentence he speaks, be it giving Bruce some words of encouragement or warning, or telling a story from his rich history. And the scene in Dark Knight Rises when he leaves Bruce’s side… wow! Michael Caine is an actor who, I think, is getting better and better with age!

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Harry Brown (2009)


Gary Oldman – JIM GORDONBatman - Gary Oldman

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

“He’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.”

Gary Oldman is one of those actors who has been in a LOT of films and, unfortunately, not all of them good. However, for every bad film he’s in, he picks a winner to counteract it. Taking the role of Jim Gordon in Nolan’s Batman films was definitely a winner!

Oldman is one of those tried and tested actors who knows the game so well he could probably play it with his eyes shut. A lot of his acting comes from his face alone and he plays that ‘down-trodden’ guy who just wants to do the right thing so well. A brilliant take on a well known character.

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Dracula (1992)


Batman - Morgan FreemanMorgan Freeman – LUCIUS FOX

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

“It has a long uninteresting name. I just took to calling it… The Bat, and yes, Mr. Wayne, it does come in black.”

Ah Morgan Freeman. Add Morgan Freeman to any film and it instantly raises it’s profile. He has one of those voices that just dreamily slides into your head. Not that he doesn’t make some odd choices of course. Like Gary Oldman, he has been in a lot of films and not all of them good. Yet he still manages to do great things with the characters he is given.

His take on Lucius Fox, a techno wizard, is brilliant. I believed every word he was saying and want him to build me my own Batmobile! Well done Mr Freeman!

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


Katie Holmes – RACHEL DAWESBatman - Katie Holmes

Batman Begins

“What chance does Gotham have when the good people do nothing?  “

Katies Holmes has had an odd sort of career. Found fame in teen angst drama Dawson’s Creek, made a few films and then, of course, there was that Tom Cruise situation.  Batman Begins was a great choice for her to really boost her career and launch her into stardom.

Holmes is a good actor, I wouldn’t go as far to say she was great, but she was good enough for the love interest of Bruce Wayne. Then, so we’re told, she decided not to reprise her role in The Dark Knight, which on retrospect, considering how well it did, she probably regrets. Bummer Holmes. Bummer.

Bat Rating: Batman - 3 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Phone Booth (2002)


Batman - Maggie GyllenhaalMaggie Gyllenhaal – RACHEL DAWES

The Dark Knight

“Bruce, don’t make me your only hope for a normal life.”

With Katie Holmes dropping out of the sequel to Batman Begins, Maggie Gyllenhaal stepped up to fill her shoes. In a bolder, more daring Batman film, Gyllenhaal got to play a feistier versoin of Rachel Dawes. torn between two loves, she plays the pivotal character that leads Batman down the routes he takes.

Gyllenhaal is one of those actresses that injects her personality into her roles and this one is no different. She took what Katie Holmes had done with the character and made her her own. She makes us care for her enough, so when she dies, he feel Bruce and Harvey’s pain.

Bat Rating: Batman - 4 Star

Best Non-Batman Role:  Secretary (2002)


Batman - Anne HathawayAnne Hathaway – CATWOMANBatman - Anne Hathaway Actor

The Dark Knight Rises

“There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.”

I’ll be honest, when  it was announced that Anne Hathaway was going to play Selina Kyle AKA Catwoman, I groaned. I wasn’t really a fan. Luckily, with a few of the films she had out around that time, she changed my mind!

A Catwoman like Michelle Pfieffer would never work in Nolan’s Batman so Hathaway played her more of a cat burglar from a poor background. She brought a great combination of zest, sex appeal and strength to the role.  She also played on the characters lack of loyalty really well. Here was a character that was neither good or bad and only in it for herself. I would have liked to have seen a little more screen time with her, but she still did a great job!

Bat Rating: Batman - 4 Star

Best Non-Batman Role:  Les Misérables (2012)


Joseph Gordon-Levitt – BLAKEBatman - Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The Dark Knight Rises

“I’m still a believer in the Batman.”

It was a bit of surprise when it was announced that Joseph Gordon-Levitt had a role in Dark Knight Rises. No one could quite figure out who he was going to play. The biggest guess was that he would play The Riddler (which would have been awesome by the way!). Instead he plays Blake, a Gotham cop, just trying to do what’s best for the city. It’s not until the end when we find out his real name – Robin – that we click! Ahhh!

JGL has a likeable factor to him that will always do him well on-screen. He is a committed actor who takes his roles very seriously and you can tell by his performances. I loved that they didn’t make him some huge hero that saves everyone in the city – instead keeping him a realistic character who is a hero for saving a group of young children. A great character by a great actor.

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: 500 Days of Summer (2009)


So that’s it. That’s a hell of a lot of brilliant actors to have the honour of starring in a Batman film (or dishonour as in Batman & Robin‘s case). Now imagine if all of those actors got together to make one huge Batman film. That would be something!

Yes, there are some other characters in the Batman films played by great actors, such as Rutger Hauer, Tom Wilkinson and Ken Watanabe, not to mention all of the smaller characters played by great actors hoping to catch their big break. But I couldn’t go on all day. Jeesh… I’m too busy saving people in distress. Didn’t you know?

I’m the Batman.


Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.

Batman – An All Star Line-up (part 2)

 

Batman - cover

PREVIOUS – BATMAN


WARNING: This article contains… dum dum dum… SPOILERS!

We’ve been through the various actors who have played, or are still to play, Batman. However, no superhero would be complete without a villain to stop. And in the Batman films, there have been plenty of villains! Let’s do this in order of the films…

THE VILLAINS

Who dares to go toe-to-toe with the Dark Knight?


Batman - Jack NicholsonBatman - Jack Nicholson actorJack Nicholson – THE JOKER

Batman

“You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

What better actor to play Batman’s most famous, clown-like nemesis? Jack Nicholson seems to have been born to play this role and play it he does! The entire time he’s on screen you can’t help but think that Nicholson had a really great time playing this part!

His portrayal of the Joker is very reminiscent of Cesar Romero’s 1960’s version, both in looks and attitude, but Nicholson adds a touch of unpredictability to the character that truly makes him a villain to be feared. Surly no one else could ever play The Joker again after this…

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: The Shining (1980)


 Batman - Danny DeVitoBatman - Danny DeVito ActorDanny DeVito – THE PENGUIN

Batman Returns

“The liberation of Gotham has begun!”

After Batman did so well with Jack Nicholson as The Joker, the team behind Batman Returns needed to pull out all of the stops and they did by introducing two villains to the mix. One of those was The Penguin!

Once again, Tim Burton gets it spot on. Danny DeVito played such a realistic Oswald Cobblepot, AKA Penguin. His stature, mixed with his terrific make-up and costume and disgustingly brilliant portrayal of the character made The Penguin one of the highlights in the Batman Franchise.

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Big Fish (2003)


Batman - Michelle PfeifferMichelle Pfeiffer – CATWOMANBatman - Michelle Pfeiffer Actor

Batman Returns

“Life’s a bitch… now so am I.”

In Batman, the only female character worth mentioning was Bruce Wayne’s love interest. For Batman Returns, they made the great decision to introduce a stronger, more integral female – Catwoman!

Let’s face it, we all love Michelle Pfeiffer in that catsuit. But it’s not just her looks and her skin tight costume that made her great for the role. It was her personality. Pfeiffer made the character of Catwoman her own. She created a villain with a real passion for what she did, strong yet still able to feel vulnerable, and a brilliant backstory revealing why she became the woman in black.

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role:  Scarface (1983)


Batman - Christopher WalkenChristopher Walken – MAX SHRECKBatman - Christopher Walken Actor

Batman Returns

“One can never have too much power.”

Often forgotten against the more extreme villains in Batman Returns, Christopher Walken plays the power hungry Max Shreck. Walken is on top form as the scheming businessman, but then, Walken is always on top form!

Getting the Tim Burton make-over, Walken’s costumes, make-up and hair all add the eccentric character that he plays so well! He makes it so believable that he is that nasty character, that when he gets his comeuppance, we cheer!

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: The Deer Hunter (1978)


Batman - Jim CarreyJim Carrey – THE RIDDLERBatman - Jim Carrey Actor

Batman Forever

“Riddle me this, riddle me that, who’s afraid of the big, black bat?”

And then things go a bit weird. Tim Burton and Michael Keaton dropped out of the third film in the franchise and you can see why. Batman Forever takes a more comical approach to the films. Jim Carrey as The Riddler is not such a ridiculous idea – especially if he was playing it today now that he has toned down his act.

The problem with Carrey was that he was far too slapstick and far to extreme. I love Carrey’s outlandish style in films like The Mask or Ace Venturer, but in Batman it just seemed a little too OTT. And he had some very unflattering outfits as well! Not terrible by any means, just not good either.

 Bat Rating: Batman - 2 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: The Truman Show (1998)


Batman - Tommy Lee JonesTommy Lee Jones – Two-FaceBatman - Tommy Lee Jones Actor

Batman Forever

“For your dying pleasure, we are serving the very same acid that made us the men we are today.”

A huge disappointment and a huge misdirection for a brilliant actor. The problem Batman Forever had is too many ‘wacky’ characters. Jim Carrey playing crazy is understandable – it’s what he does best. But Tommy Lee Jones? Crazy? Those two words don’t go together.

I can’t blame Jones for this as he did his best with what he had to work with. I’d have liked to have seen his sulky, moody side portrayed in the character of Two-Face instead of another Joker.

Bat Rating: Batman - 1 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: No Country For Old Men (2007)


Batman - Drew Barrymore

 < Drew Barrymore – SUGARBatman - Debi Mazar

Debi Mazar – SPICE >

Batman Forever

Two-Face’s girls, Sugar and Spice, play on his angelic and demonic sides. Sugar, played by Drew Barrymore (still before she became really famous), gets more screen-time, but they both add an interesting element to Two-Face’s good/bad character that the film should have played on more.

Both actresses play the parts well, Barrymore doing her ‘sweet’ and ‘innocent’  act, whilst Mazar gives us a sultry bondage temptress.

Bat Rating: Batman - 3 Star

Drew Barrymore’s Best Non-Batman Role: Donnie Darko (2001)

Debi Mazar’s Best Non-Batman Role: Goodfellas (1990)


Batman - Arnold SchwarzeneggerArnold Schwarzenegger – MR FREEZEBatman - Arnold Schwarzenegger Actor

Batman & Robin

“Tonight’s forecast… a freeze is coming!”

Now we move on to the disaster that was Batman & Robin. By this point everything that was great about Tim Burton’s first two films had gone. Mr Freeze could have been a great villain and Arnold Schwarzenegger was an interesting choice to play the villain and we all hoped he could pull it off. But then the script happened.

Arnie is the king of cheesy one-liners but the dialogue in this monstrosity was just plain awful. Arnie hams it up and does the best he can which, in this case unfortunately, isn’t very good at all. All-in-all it was a bad mix of bad ideas.

Bat Rating: Batman - 1 Star

Best Non-Batman Film: Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)


Batman - Uma ThurmanUma Thurman – Poison IvyBatman - Uma Thurman Actor

Batman & Robin

“Men! The most absurd of God’s creatures!”

Batman & Robin adds a second villain to the mix with the sultry Poison Ivy, played by Uma Thurman. Poison Ivy is one of the most intriguing and dangerous villains in the Batman world and Thurman should have been the best choice. She’s a great actress, has a great look and does sultry really well.

But once again, the terrible script and bad direction let Thurman down. Awful innuendos and bad poor jokes make Thurman’s Ivy nothing more than something good to look at. But she does look good.

Bat Rating: Batman - 2 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Pulp Fiction (1994)


Batman - Cillian MurphyCillian Murphy – SCARECROWBatman - Cillian Murphy Actor

Batman Begins

“Is your mind playing tricks on you… or am I? “

Batman began again with Christopher Nolan’s much darker series. Cillian Murphy played Dr. Crane AKA Scarecrow. Although appearing in a fair number of films, including 28 Days Later, Murphy was still a relatively new face to cinema goers. Yet his dark, twisted portrayal of Scarecrow left a lasting impression on fans and his career.

It would have been nice to see more of Scarecrow in the film, but with an origins story, sometimes villains have to take a back seat. Murphy still used the screentime he had to strike fear in us all and show us that he can play bad really good!

Bat Rating: Batman - 4 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: 28 Days Later (2002)


Batman - Liam NeesonLiam Neeson – Ducard/Ra’s Al GhulBatman - Liam Neeson Actor

Batman Begins

“If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely.”

He’s played a Jedi, a member of the A-Team, a legendary Lion, the saviour of the jews… and now he’s gone and trained Batman! Liam Neeson is the perfect choice to play Ducard, the man who taught Bruce Wayne all he knows and then turned out to actually be the villain Ra’s Al Ghul!

Neeson is always reliable to pull of the performance required of him for the film and his part in Batman Begins is no exception. And he plays the role of an ass-kicker far too well!

Bat Rating: Batman - 4 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Schindler’s List (1993)


Batman - Heath LedgerHeath Ledger – THE JOKERBatman - Heath Ledger Actor

Batman Begins

“Why so serious?”

It was impossible wasn’t it? For someone to play The Joker after Jack Nicholson had done it so well. And even more impossible that it would have been Heath Ledger? How we were wrong! Ledger became The Joker. He was frighting, intriguing and oddly humorous all at once. He played a different kind of Joker to any we’d seen before and it was terrifying!

Ledgers tragic death before the release of The Dark Knight only made his character more fascinating and would ultimately store his name forever in movie history.

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Brokeback Mountain (2005)


Batman - Aaron EckhartAaron Eckhart – TWO-FACEBatman - Aaron Eckhart Actor

The Dark Knight

“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

This is the way Two-Face was meant to be played! It’s hard to actually put Eckhart’s portrayal of Harvey Dent in the villains list because, for most of the film he is the good guy. The best of guys in fact. Eckhart plays the role charmingly, he is handsome and heroic. Which makes it all the more tragic when The Joker turns him into Two-Face.

Eckhart again shows us how great an actor he is by switching now to a vengeance fuelled tragedy with nothing left to lose. His take on the two faced fiend is brilliant, if under-shadowed slightly by Heath Ledger’s Joker

 Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Thank You for Smoking (2005)


Batman - Tom HardyTom Hardy – BANEBatman - Tom Hardy Actor

The Dark Knight Rises

“We will destroy Gotham and then, when it is done and Gotham is ashes, then you have my permission to die.”

Bane was always an imposing figure (except for the disaster in Batman & Robin) so Tom Hardy bulked up for the role. And he is very imposing! It’s hard for an actor to play a role with only your eyes visible on your face but Hardy pulled it off.

It’s also hard to create great villain after such a memorable character such as The Joker. Luckily Bane was completely different to The Joker. Hardy played him very serious, very motivated and very threatening. You would not want to mess with Bane! Yes, the voice was a little weird.

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Inception (2010)


Batman - Marion CotillardMarion Cotillard – TALIA AL GHULBatman - Marion Cotillard Actor

The Dark Knight Rises

“A man who doesn’t care about the world doesn’t spend half his fortune on a plan to save it.”

The character of Miranda was introduced as a possible love interest for Bruce Wayne but turned out to be the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul out for vengeance.  Cotillard is a brilliant actress able to play the woman you want to marry, and murderous villain perfectly. Especially when she twists that knife into our hero… seriously, don’t mess with Marion Cotillard!

I would have liked to have seen more of her playing the villain in Dark Knight Rises as we only go a glimpse of her dark side towards the end. Still, her performance is solid and fits well into the world of the bat.

Bat Rating: Batman - 4 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Rust and Bone (2012)


NEXT – BATMAN’S ALLIES, FRIENDS AND OTHERS


Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.

Batman – An All Star Line-up

Batman - cover

WARNING: This article contains… dum dum dum… SPOILERS!

I’ve recently re-watched Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992) and Batman Forever (1995). I swore I’d never watch Batman & Robin (1997) again. I think I’ll now have to do a Christopher Nolan Batman marathon with Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). With the currently titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) in production, that’s a hell of a lot of Batman that’s hit our screens. Not to mention the 1960’s TV series and all of the animated series and specials!

It got me thinking about the different actors that have appeared in the various films (I’m going for the films, not TV or there’d be far too many!). Some of the greatest acting talent imaginable have appeared in the Batman franchises over the years. So for a bit of fun I thought I’d check them all out, who they played, what they brought to the film and how I’d rate them as the character. So let’s begin with…

BATMAN 

Who has donned the black cape?


Batman - Michael Keaton

Batman - Michael Keaton actor

Michael Keaton – BATMAN

Batman & Batman Returns

“Now you wanna get nuts? Come on! Let’s get nuts.”

Michael Keaton starred in the first two Batman films directed by Tim Burton. When it was announced that Keaton would play Batman, fans were worried as he was better known for his comedy characters.

However, he played the caped crusader brilliantly, setting the moody, mysterious image of the bat that still remains on our screens to this day.  At times he was cheesy and had some corny one-liners, but many still see Michael Keaton as the one true Batman or that he has influenced all that have come after him.

Bat Rating:  Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Beetlejuice (1988)


Batman - Val Kilmer

Batman - Val Kilmer Actor

Val Kilmer – BATMAN

Batman Forever

“It’s the car, right? Chicks love the car.”

When Keaton turned down Batman Forever after Burton chose not to direct it, Val Kilmer stepped up to don the bat mask with mixed results. As the character of Bruce Wayne/Batman, Kilmer did a good job, but didn’t really bring anything new to the role.

Keaton set the bar so high that fans had a hard time accepting Kilmer as Batman. It didn’t help that Batman Forever was far too ‘zany’ for most peoples likings. He was a good Batman but it’s always hard to fill someone elses’ shoes.

Bat Rating: Batman - 3 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: The Doors (1991)


Batman - George Clooney

Batman - George Clooney Actor

George Clooney – BATMAN

Batman & Robin

“Why is it that all the beautiful ones are homicidal maniacs?”

Poor George. Taking the role of Batman was still quite early in his film career and he himself admits that it was a mistake. The absolute flop that was Batman & Robin can’t be blamed on Clooney. He did the best he could amongst a jumble of wrongs. The cheesy dialogue, the garish colours, the bat nipples!

These days, Clooney is a brilliant actor and everyone loves him. Back in ’97 he was still remembered from his days in ER and as the bad boy in Dusk Till Dawn, so playing our caped hero was never going to be easy for him.

Bat Rating: Batman - 1 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: Gravity (2013)


Batman - Christian Bale

Batman - Christian Bale Actor

Christian Bale – BATMAN

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises

“I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be.”

Skip forward to 2005 and Christopher Nolan brought us Batman Begins with Bale becoming the darkest Batman yet. Gone had the camp, bright fun of the old. Gone had the nipples!

Bale gave so much passion and determination to the role of Batman whilst also doing what no one else had quite managed to do – giving us a brilliant portrayal of millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. Bale is one of the truly great actors of our time, giving great performances time and time again. It will be hard for anyone to top Bale’s performance as the Dark Knight.

Bat Rating: Batman - 5 Star

Best Non-Batman Role: American Psycho (2000)


Batman - Ben Affleck

Batman - Ben Affleck Actor

Ben Affleck – BATMAN

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Currently planned for a 2016  release, Zack Snyder is directing Ben Affleck as the caped crusader in what is a sequel to the latest Superman film, Man of Steel.  Not much is known about the film yet, other than it will feature Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman.

A lot of fans were very concerned with the choice of casting Affleck as Batman – a feeling I do not agree with. I believe that Affleck will portray the dark knight well and hope that he add’s his own take on the character and doesn’t try to do a Christian Bale. And there lies the only problem for me – it could be too soon to accept someone else as our favourite winged hero.

Bat Rating: ????

Best Non- Batman Role: Argo (2012)


NEXT – BATMAN’S VILLAINS


Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.

How To Look Cocky? Eat An Apple…

There are numerous ways actors and directors portray cockiness on screen. A smug smile. A witty one liner. A simple hand gesture. There’s also another tried and proven method that we see time and time again that works really well. Some directors use it all of the time. So what’s a great way to look cocky? Eat an apple!

Sounds strange but there’s something so smug and so arrogant about someone sinking their teeth into a juicy apple and ripping out a bite. It’s such a simple thing but it works so well. Here’s some great examples:

Indiana Jones

No one does cocky quite like Harrison Ford. Indiana Jones rocks the cocky apple eater in this great scene from Temple of Doom.

Jack Sparrow

Johnny Depp also plays cocky really well. Jack Sparrow, one of his more famously cocky characters, holds that apple with extra smugness!

Robert Downy Jr

Photo-shoots work too. Robert Downey Jr, known for his own cocky personality, rocks it with this apple!

Kirk Shatner

In Wrath of Khan, another famously cocky character, Captain Kirk (William Shatner), eats an apple with smug pride in an equally smug scene where he dupes Khan’s plans!

Kirk

J.J. Abrams, always a lover of the apple, emulates Kirks love of the cocky apple in his take on Star Trek. Chris Pine’s Kirk is the epitome of cocky!

Ian Somerhalder

Ian Somerhalder looks like a cheeky trickster eating an apple off a knife in this photoshoot!

Will Ferrell picks an apple from a tree and eats it while filming in Brooklyn, New York

Will Ferrell, on the set of Anchorman, apparently plucked this apple from a nearby tree between shoots. Now that is cocky!

Angel

Even Vampires like apples! David Boreanaz did it with sinister undertones in Angel

Bill Duke - Warden Harris - Lost

Bill Duke pulls it off exceptionally as the arrogant Warden Harris in Lost!

Beyonce

Beyonce is full of girl power and shows she don’t take no sh*t from no one by biting into this red delicious!

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie, another eater of the apple from a knife. She’s smug, cocky and you don’t want to mess with her!

Kev

Our own use of the smug apple eater. Kev Thompson starring in our short film ‘The Wife and I’. Cocky bastard!

Where does this apple obsession come from? Perhaps it all begin with Adam and Eve. Was Eve biting that forbidden apple the start of human-kinds smug, cocky attitude? I don’t know. All I do know is that it really does work.

So if you’re an actor or are making a film or doing a photo-shoot, give it a try. Smugness without words. Just eat an apple.

—————————————————————————————

Written by Joseph Monahan – writer/director at Berry Productions

@josephmonahan

Download Joe’s comedy sci-fi book, Intergalactic Terrorist.

Reed Short Film Competition…

It’s November, it’s getting colder and colder with more chances of rain, snow and sleet. Of course this means that we are about to shoot a new film! Hooray! The old Berry curse of filming in the cold strikes again! Not our fault this time though, as we are making a short film for the Reed Short Film Competition, which is currently open and closes on 22nd January, 2014. What is Reed Short Film you may ask? It’s an annual competition by Reed Recruitment Agency to make a 3 minute film based on a theme. This years theme is ‘Family Business’. Two years ago we made ‘The Wife and I…‘ for the competition and made it into the top 30 out of over 500 entrants. So this year we are hoping to even better!

We have our screenplay written and the majority of locations sorted. I’m not going to tell you the story – don’t want to spoil it – but I can tell you the cast involved. We’ve been working with some amazing actors and actresses in the last few years, all from Hull and surrounding areas, and wanted to get as many of these brilliant people involved and all have signed up for the film!

New FamilyNew Family 3New Family 4 New Family 1 New Family 2

The short film was written by myself (Joseph Monahan) and will be directed by me and Callum Smith. Callum will also work on the musical score to the film.

It’s a great story that we have come up with – if you’re a fan of the Black Mirror series by Charlie Brooker then you might just like this one!

We’re currently sourcing all of our locations and props etc, ready to begin filming in the next couple of weeks and we’re all looking forward to getting our teeth into it!

Below is the film we made for the competition 2 years ago. It was called ‘The Wife and I…’ and the theme was ‘The Boss’. We have come a long way since making this short so, if you like ‘The Wife and I…’, get ready for something bigger and better!

Reed Short Film Competition… we’re coming for you! 

The Actors in ‘The Field’

‘The Field’ is our latest short film, currently rocking in at 45 mins!

Jade Thrustle

The Field – Berry Productions

There are a number of things that make a film great. Great writing, great direction, great sound and great editing are four of the most important. Without those four brilliant combinations, all working together, you’re going to get a distinctly average, or sadly, quite dire film. Too many times have I seen, what could potentially be a good film, ruined by just one of those things being poorly executed.

The other vital ingredient to this mix is, of course, great acting. Without great acting your amazing script, award winning director, incredible sound and slick editing is all for nothing. One of my pet hates is watching an indie film that has clearly cast the writer/directors friends as main roles. Let’s be honest, in most cases, your friends can’t act. Friends and family members are fine for extras, or the occasional one-liner, but if you want a professional film that is going to impress everyone other than your friends and family, then we need to be working with great actors!

We have found some excellent actors for ‘The Field’, from the young to the old and everywhere in-between. The main characters in ‘The Field’ are Max, Sarah and Jacob, three young friends, so we needed not only good actors, but good child actors. We also needed a great supporting cast as they meet a number of different people in the films journey.

Let me introduce you to our cast and the characters they play in ‘The Field’…

Matt Duncan - Berry ProductionsMatthew Duncan as Max 

Max is the leader of his little gang of friends. He desperately wants to be popular and ‘cool’ like some of the other children in his school. A bit of bully towards Jacob, the youngest of the group, Max wants to take part in the challenge at Old Joe’s Field, to prove to everyone how brave he can be!

Max is played by Matthew Duncan (12). Matthew is a brilliant young actor who is gaining a keen understanding of filmmaking. It wouldn’t surprise us if Matt decided to work behind the camera when he’s older. One of the nicest boys you’ll ever meet, which just shows how good an actor he is as he plays the bully, cocky Max perfectly!

Jade Thrustle - Berry Productions

Jade Thrustle as Sarah

Sarah is the sceptic in the group. She doesn’t believe that there is anything strange in that field, but is interested to find out if she could be convinced. She is probably the strongest of her group, not afraid to stick up for Jacob and put Max in his place!

Sarah is played by Jade Thrustle (12). Jade is a natural performer – she is great at acting, dancing and singing. She understands how to act on camera or to an audience so they get the best out of the performance. She also isn’t afraid to bring her own personality to a character – putting her own unique spin on things and bringing a fresh perspective!

.

Kane Meakes - Berry ProductionsKane Meakes as Jacob

Jacob is the youngest of the group and a little insecure. Picked on by Max and mothered slightly by Sarah, he is constantly reminded that he is young. He is also terrified of the challenge at Old Joe’s Field and does not want to take part.

Jacob is played by Kane Meakes (9). Kane is a breath of fresh air to work with. Youthful, very talkative and enthusiastic, yet brilliant in his performance. Kane is a great storyteller and I believe this is something that will grow as he gets older. He loves to perform and you can tell this by the unique charisma he brings to his character.

David Aston - Berry ProductionsDavid Aston as The Shopkeeper

An mature man working a the village sweetshop, the shopkeeper sees a lot of children come and go. His interest in our three main characters is sparked when he hears them talking about the challenge – the challenge he also did as a child!

The Shopkeeper is played by David Aston,  a seasoned actor who has appeared in a number of films over the years. He has a strong, authoritative presence, probably due to spending most of his life in the police force. David is an actor who nails every line and his voice, deep and full of bass, sends shivers down your spine!

Jo Gallagher - Berry ProductionsJo Gallagher as ‘Mad’ Maddy

People in the village say that Maddy is a witch. The three children meet her during their adventure and are lured into her house by the promise of fresh lemonade and information on the challenge at Old Joe’s Field!

‘Mad’ Maddy is played by Jo Gallagher. Jo auditioned for the role, returning after a gap in her acting career. We instantly knew she was right for the role. Jo plays the character of Maddy differently and far better than we had originally planned, making her character much more believable. She has a seductive tone to her voice and an intensity to her acting that draws you in, keeping you engrossed in her character!

Callum Smith - Berry ProductionsCallum Smith plays Eddy Jenkins

Eddy is a cocky, young man, who works at the local pub. Eddy holds the record for the challenge at Old Joe’s Field, a reputation that has stayed with him ever since.

Callum not only acts in the film, but is co-director along with Joseph Monahan. Callum is a perfectionist who won’t stop until he has got his performance right. A lead guitarist in a band, he is used to being in the spotlight, which helps him to perfect the cocky character of Eddy Jenkins!

.

Katy D'Arcy - Berry ProductionsKaty D’Arcy plays Jacob’s Mum

As an overworked, underpaid, single mother, Jacob’s mum just wants the best for her son. She cares for him greatly and is deeply concerned to hear that he has been playing near Old Joe’s Field.

Katy is very natural in her performances and her maternal nature shines through in this role. She has the ability to show a sadness in her performance that makes the audience instantly care, yet her warmth still captivates allowing the audience to connect with her.

So now you know the main players of the film – the actors and the characters they portray! Hopefully this little taster has intrigued you enough to want to know more. If you are a filmmaker and are interested in using these brilliant actors for your own, potentially brilliant film, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us and we’ll hook you up!

%d bloggers like this: