The Cast and Director of Netflix’s Okja

Have you met Okja? The titular “super pig” is at the heart of Director Bong Joon Ho’s newest feature which is currently streaming on Netflix. The imaginative film follows Okja, a creature genetically engineered by the shady Mirando Corporation (headed by a boundlessly enthusiastic Tilda Swinton) as a source of new consumable meat product. In a longterm PR move, this super pig is farm-raised by a young girl in Korea named Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn) until, unbeknownst to Mija, she is scheduled to make her big trip to NYC where Mirando aims to cash in on their investment. What follows is a wild journey to the city where Mija encounters a radical PETA-like eco-group, the ALF, as well as some harsh realities of this film’s version of the terrifying food industry.

Last month, cast members Tilda Swinton, Seo-Hyun Ahn, Lily Collins, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun and Giancarlo Esposito gathered in New York along with Director Bong to give their insight on making the film and its message.

Some minor spoilers

Seo-Hyun Ahn carries the film as Mija, an acting and physical feat, her and Director Bong spoke via translators about developing her performance:

Ahn: [I] was always thinking how Mija would perceive all of the things that are happening and [I] would say [I] was there as an intermediate state and Director Bong helped [me] constantly think about why would Mija do this? And what would Mija think? That sort of helped [me] in maximizing how Mija would think in the story.

Director Bong: Ahn is very experienced and she’s very energetic and focused. So She has enough energy to confront Tilda or Paul. And because of this high energy whenever we were shooting the scenic mountain scenes, [I] tried to distract Mija as best as [I] could. Whenever [Ahn] was focusing on the script, [I] would distract her by talking about catering and talking about snacks in the snack corner. [I] did [my] best to distract her as best as possible because if you try too hard then there are times that the performance doesn’t come out right. And because there are so many great actors and actresses around, she might have been pressured into giving a poor performance. [I] did [my] best to try to relax her as much as possible.

As Lucy Mirando, and later Nancy Mirando, Tilda Swinton enjoyed working with her Snowpiercer Director Bong:

Swinton: It’s a very simple and relaxed business when working with someone like Director Bong who invites a kind of playfulness and as he just described , a kind of relaxedness in all his company, not just the performers, but in all departments. What he knows…is he wants people to be relaxed and really bring something fresh and creative. And that’s an environment that I love. It’s like a kind of playpen, it’s like a sandbox to me, it’s like kindergarten. Especially working with him, he’s my playmate.

The Mirando sisters are reminiscent in their emphatic, almost cult-leader like energy of Swinton’s Snowpiercer character Mason, she discussed their similarities:

Swinton: Yes we worked on Snowpiercer together, Director Bong and I, and we kind of whipped up this insane burlesque, Mason, who is supposed to be beyond any reality but as it happens, it seems that we were behind the curve [laughs] With this one we wanted to come at the idea of a fool-clown-villain in a slightly different way. We wanted to find different ways—the different faces of high capitalism and exploitation. And so we decided in fact to split it in fact, either into a schizophrenic—I mean I sometimes wonder whether there are two people here, whether actually there isn’t one. You know because let’s face it when Lucy fades away, Nancy appears and vice-versa. So we wanted to look at two different ways of messing the world up. So we have Nancy, who is the—she doesn’t fall far from the tree of their toxic, horrendous father. And then Lucy, who is so determined to be different. She’s driving 180 degrees away from Nancy and trying to be all user-friendly and “woke” and squeaky clean. And lovable. So it was an opportunity to look at these two different faces. But I suppose you know, especially when you’re working together and your collaboration over projects, the conversation is kind of the same conversation that just evolves and goes into a whole new area. All sorts of conversations we had about Mason just sort of moved into conversations about the Mirandos. So yeah, they are cousins of a sort. And they ALL have teeth. [Laughs]

Director Bong is no stranger to centralizing creatures as metaphors in his stories, after his successful feature The Host, and he spoke about using them in that way:

Director Bong: [I’m] always drawn into creature films and creatures. However in The Host, the creature was a monster who attacked people and in Okja the creature is a very intimate friend of the protagonist Mija. They sleep together, they have a lot of interaction, they hug each other and because of this interaction, it required a lot of cutting edge visual effects work which was [my] first challenge. So it’s a pig and now in retrospect [I’m] wondering when [I contemplate why I] chose a pig as the animal. [I think] there’s no better animal than the pig that humans associate with food. Ham, sausage, jerky, etc etc. But in reality, pigs are very delicate, sophisticated and smart and obviously clean. [I think] that the way the two perspectives we have when we look at animals are all coalesced inside a pig. Through the one perspective, we look at animals as family and friends, as pets. And the other perspective is when we look at animals as food. And [I believe] these two perspectives co-exist inside a pig. In our every day lives, people try to separate these two universes apart. We play with our pets in the day and at night, we have a steak dinner. But in this film, we try to merge those two universes together and try to create this sense of discomfort…A creature film is a very effective tool to create special commentary and to get commentary in the world that we live in.

Lily Collins and Steven Yeun are both play part of the fictional eco-group led by Paul Dano and they talked about their views of such groups and animal rights activism in light of doing the film:

Collins: I’ve always been weirdly interested in food documentaries so during the prep of this movie, I watched more and Director Bong gave us all this ALF handbook. We saw lots of really difficult images of animals and treatment and the facilities…And I’m not a red-meat eater anyway, so it wasn’t that I changed my food habits or my eating habits but I definitely became more of a conscious consumer in many other types of products. I think the great thing about this film though is that it speaks to so many different types of themes—you know, nutrition and environment, politics, love, innocence lost. There’s just so many different things to be taken from this film that I think are dealt with in a way that never tutorialized [sic], but always just prompts conversations…I think what Director Bong is amazing at is taking so many different things and presenting them to you. Never telling you how to think, but if you leave the theater thinking something, we’ve done our job right.

Yeun: …I really enjoyed working with director Bong. Mostly because he likes to just tell it to you how it is, with all the gray. And so, when you get to dive into [something] like the ALF, I know that we were playing a characterization of people that are really doing stuff like this, but I feel like one thing it sheds a light on–at least for myself–was why does an individual sign up for something like this? And they’re all different. Especially in our little subgroup of the ALF. Every single character had a different reason for being there. Or had different ethics that were willing to go far or less than the other person next to them. And I think it an interesting study in that regard because sometimes you see the ALF, as they intend, to just be this giant glob organization, or anything in that way. But when you pick apart the specific individuals that take part in something like this it’s interesting to see that not all the interests necessarily align.

Animal rights groups in real life sometimes draw criticism for their tactics and in this film we see the ALF arguing for non-violence while taking part in it, Director Bong on that contradiction:

Director Bong: There’s definitely a level of contradiction within the group ALF. Even in the film, the ALF shout that they hate violence but you can see throughout the film that they constantly inflict it. They have a very noble cause and you can understand the cause. But the film also portrays them to at times [to] look foolish and portray them making very human mistakes. Simply put, [I think] they’re humans just like us. Even Lucy Mirando. She doesn’t feel like she’s a pure villain or villainess in the pure sense. She also has flaws and a fragility. There’s a moment in the dressing room scene where Lucy talks to Frank and she raises the super pig jerky and says ‘its a shame that we have to tell these little white lies’… That was an honest moment on her part. Whether that be the Mirando Corporation or the ALF members, [I want] to embrace them within the boundaries of humanity where they have flaws or they make mistakes. Actually every character in this movie is pathetic except Mija and Okja.

Dano: And how complicated it is to put a beautiful young girl in the middle of all that contradiction, you know? it’s really one of the special things about the story….I like that the film to me, even though it has many topical issues, I don’t think it’s overly preaching. It’s too complicated for that. Even Mija eats chicken stew, or catches the fish and throws the little fish back in. That’s such an important detail for this film to be true. And even though it has a fantasy animation-comic-book-graphic-novel sort of level to it, I like the truth in the contradictions.

Finally the cast gave their initial response to this project:

Collins:…You know, you sit down with Director Bong–my first meeting with director Bong was at 11am and he orders ice cream and starts talking about this pig, and I go ‘OK, I think I know what I’m signing on for!?’ [Laughs] And I fell in love with the idea that he could see me as this character and I don’t think a lot of people would have been able to see me as someone like this. But it’s so much. It’s a love story, it’s a drama, it’s a comedy, it’s an action movie, it’s a fantasy movie. It’s kind of everything you’ve ever wanted to see in one movie. And yeah…It was a moment of enlightenment really, when you read it.

Giancarlo Esposito: For me it was in many ways a return to innocence. Odd for me to say after having played [Mirando corporation lackey] Frank Dawson, but this story is so absolutely beautiful in its very connected relationship message. It doesn’t matter what that relationship is. It could be a child with their goldfish in the tank who is their best friend, or it could be Okja. But that warmth, that sensitivity and that understanding that’s developed in that relationship, for me, guided me back to thinking about my loss of innocence. When did I grow up? And how could I unlearn that growing up and see the world in a new light? Many times we are so smart, that we are ignorant and they say that education is learned ignorance. We, as performers who fantasize about telling our stories, that will make a comment on our–a social comment, a political comment, an artistic comment– through our creativity, are gifted with our ultimate gift to still remain somewhere in our heart and soul, that beautiful child that Mija is.

Swinton: I didn’t read the script for a long time because I was privileged to be a part of the cloud of the idea before it ever came to script stage. I remember very clearly Director Bong, when we went to Seoul for the premiere of Snowpiercer, he drove us to the airport the following day and leaned over the back of the seat of the car and showed me this drawing of the pig and the girl and that was it. That was three years before there was a script. But even before that moment, I have to say that one of the bonds we share is a great love of the master Hayao Miyazaki, in particular My Neighbor Totoro, and in fact we regularly sing the Totoro theme tune. It’s a thing we do. And so, the second I saw this drawing, I saw that. I this as an opportunity to fill to that homage. But also we talked about the twin sisters in Spirited Away, which I think was the seed of the Mirando sisters. Yeah, so I was, you know, I was in before it existed. Put it that way.

Conference has been edited for length and clarity. Okja is available to stream now on Netflix.

Feld Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment Unveil Cast for Highly Anticipated Live Event Spectacular “Marvel Universe Live!”

More Than 50 Performers Prepare To Bring The Marvel Universe To Life In This Summer’s Live Action Arena Spectacular

Ellenton, FL, (June 12, 2014) – After scouring the country to find the best of the best in live action performers with an amazing array of disciplines and skills, Feld Entertainment, Inc., the worldwide leader in live touring family events, today reveals the final cast of more than 50 performers ready to bring its most ambitious live event experience to life in Marvel Universe LIVE!. Debuting this July in Tampa, FL, before having its world premiere at New York City’s Barclays Center on Wednesday, August 13, the show will be the most physically demanding in Feld Entertainment’s storied history and will stop in 85 cities nationwide.

Featuring the most Marvel characters ever in one production, Marvel Universe LIVE! will be headlined by a cast trained in everything from martial arts to motocross in order to bring the Marvel Universe to the live action arena. Supported by a unique blend of aerial stunts, pyrotechnics and state-of-the-art special effects, the performers will bring an epic live action experience right in front of audiences’ eyes every time.

After an intensive eight month cross-country casting process that took place in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando and Ellenton, Florida, with hundreds of hopefuls representing the United States, Mexico, Hungary, France, United Kingdom, Russia, and Japan showing off their considerable skills, the final ensemble is set. When the spotlight finally shines, spectators will see some of the world’s most gifted athletes and performers including professional snow-skater and three-time X Games champ Phil Smage (Captain America), WMX Pro National champion and two-time X Games winner Ashley Fiolek (Hydra Agent), and 2012 X Games Silver Medalist Louise Forsley (Black Widow). To depict the superlative athleticism of some of Marvel’s most renowned heroes, Feld Entertainment also has signed martial arts expert and AAU Junior Olympics/National Champion Kirk Jenkins (Wolverine) and long-time American Ninja Warrior professional course tester Eric Foster (Hawkeye).

“From the beginning we knew that to pull off a show of this magnitude we had to have a cast that was the closest thing we could find to real life Super Heroes,” said Shanda Sawyer, director of Marvel Universe LIVE! “These are intense roles that require performers who are experts in their fields with the ability to take those skills and apply them to a number of meticulously crafted sequences, all designed to push the limits of anything the audience has ever seen in an arena show of this caliber – and they need to do this day in and day out.”

Marvel Universe LIVE! will captivate audiences with an authentic and original story that brings more than 25 Marvel characters together on one epic quest. The story is framed around the battle over the Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe, that has been shattered into pieces by the mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. With the pieces scattered across the globe, Thor’s villainous brother, Loki, devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe.

For an inside look at the audition process, see below:

For a complete cast list and more information, visit the Marvel Universe LIVE! website
(http://www.marveluniverselive.com) and stay current on the latest developments through social media, including:
• Facebook (www.facebook.com/MarvelOnTour)
• Twitter (@MarvelOnTour/@JulietteFeld (show’s producer twitter feed))
• YouTube (www.youtube.com/MarvelOnTour)
• Instagram (@MarvelOnTour)
• Google+ (http://gplus.to/MarvelOnTour)

About Feld Entertainment
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 75 countries on six continents and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Nuclear Cowboyz®, AMSOIL Arenacross, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Disney On Ice and Disney Live! More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at www.feldentertainment.com.

More information on Marvel Universe LIVE! is available at www.marveluniverselive.com. About Marvel Entertainment, LLC Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information, visit www.marvel.com. © MARVEL

Enver Gjokaj talks about reuniting with “Dollhouse” cast in “Lust for Love”

Enver Gjokaj is know best for his role of Victor in Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse”. He also appeared in a small role in “The Avengers”, again with Joss Whedon and the new TV series “Witches of East End”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Enver about his new film “Lust for Love” and reuniting with his “Dollhouse” cast.

Mike Gencarelli: How was it reuniting with your “Dollhouse” cast members for “Lust for Love”?
Enver Gjokaj: We have always been good friends even after “Dollhouse” ended. “Dollhouse” was one of those jobs that spoiled you on every other job. You get a job and it is your first job and you think that every job will be like this…but it is not [laughs]. I have made though so many great friends from that show. Dichen (Lachman) and I are practically best friends. So we have been hanging out for a while and that is from where the inception of the film began. We were always looking for another project for all of us to do. We also wanted to figure out how much we would be able to do on our own. This was one of those projects. Everyone involved just wanted to see what we could do and it ended up being quite a lot actually.

MG: When you work with friends, do you find it more challenging or easier?
EG: It depends. Of course we love each other, so we had a ton of fun. When you are shooting something on a budget, there is no one hat so to speak. Dichen, who was the main actor and also producer, would go from setting a table for lunch straight to in front of the camera [laughs]. She wore many different hats but for me I just got to be an actor for this, which was a total pleasure. Anton (King), the director, gave me total layaway and I made the character my own. I went in a pretty comedic direction with him.

MG: Jake was definitely a funny character, tell what you enjoyed most about him?
EG: I loved it because nobody really lets me do comedy [laughs]. I have done a lot of auditions for comedies but in terms of stuff I’ve gotten hired for, I do not think people are aware that I am able to be funny [laughs]. It has been quite a few years since I was able to do quite a broad character. Anton was great and very encouraging. I would do something and it would be way over the top and then I would come to him after all apologetic. He was like “Are you kidding me? Go farther…more…more”. So that was a total pleasure since you do not often get to take the limits off a character and get to do whatever you want. There is a part where I slapped Fran (Kranz)’s character with a piece of chicken and all of that just came out of the moment. Also for me playing a lovable dickhead is right in my pocket, so to speak [laughs].

MG: What is your technique when preparing for a role?
EG: For this character, I really found him at the table readings. At first I didn’t know what to do with him. I feel like a lot of time you read a role over and over and it eventually shows itself to you. I do not think anyone planned for this character to be so broad. You really don’t plan it though and after a while it just comes out naturally.

MG: What else do you have in the cards for 2014?
EG: Right now, I am excited for “Lust for Love” getting released. Also we are in pilot season now and everyone is casting the new TV shows. I am out there auditioning for a lot of stuff. So I will see if anything comes out of it.

Cast Your Votes and Win an Instant Blu-ray Collection! [ENDED]

As 2013 comes to an end it’s time to cast your votes for the Best Films and Performances for the annual Media Mikes Awards.

One random reader will receive a prize package of (25) review copy Blu-rays released in 2013. Below is a list of nominees in (7) major categories. Click to email or leave a comment below to cast your votes. You can vote in one category or all seven. Voting ends on Sunday, January 5th at noon EST.

The voting consists of the following categories: BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR, BEST ANIMATED FEATURE, BEST ACTOR, BEST ACTRESS, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR and BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS.

Bree Williamson talks about joining the cast of Syfy’s “Haven”

Bree Willamson played the role of Jessica Buchanan on “One Life to Life” for almost 10 years until it ended earlier this year.  She recently joined the cast of Syfy’s “Haven”, playing Dr. Claire Callahan.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Bree about the new show and also how it compares to working on Soaps.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got the role of Dr. Claire Callahan in “Haven” and your inspiration?
Bree Williamson: Well I auditioned like normal. It was just a really fun audition and felt that I really connected. On the soap, I got to play a crazy person and I guess I played her as the kind of therapist that I would want to have. She is smart, quick and tells it how it is. She doesn’t have a filter. She loves her job and is constantly working. She is someone that you can’t have dinner with because everything you say she would be analyzing it and doing her job.

MG: Was your hair color change for the film role, in particularly?
BW: Oh…it was because of the role. When I moved to L.A., I had darkened my hair to brown and for the role they wanted me red. So now it is back to brown/blond, so there ya go. Red hair was really hard to keep so they had to dye my hair like one a week, it was intense. This was one of the best crews I have ever worked with. They were amazing.

MG: Everyone character has their own secrets, what does skeleton’s does Dr. Claire has in her closet?
BW: She is straight forward and then she isn’t…that is all I am going to say [laughs]. This is a really fun show and I am really glad to be a part of it.

MG: How was it joining the show in its established third season?
BW: There really wasn’t any challenges. Everybody was great. My job was easy. Everyone was like business as usual and they had a routine. Working with a cast like Emily (Rose), Eric (Balafour) and Lucas (Bryant), they were all so nice. Working in Nova Scotia was great. Pretty much everyone in the cast is from L.A. and they all work hard and play hard. We would go surfing on the weekend and I got the low-down on all the best restaurants and best places to give your coffee.

MG: How do you feel this differs than your work on “One Life to Live”?
BW: With the Soaps, I was a little bit spoiled. It is a 9-5 job. You always know what to expect. We got to live in NY. You always give up something and get something else. With a Soap Opera, I did audition for other things but was mostly caught up with the Soap. Now not being on the Soap and doing other shows, it is exciting for me. I get to go to places like Nova Scotia. It is not as comfortable but that is the part that I enjoy the most. The hardest part was being apart from my home but at least my son got to come with me. My husband also got to come for a while.

MG: Tell us about your role in the NBC midseason series, “Infamous”?
BW: It is a great show with a really great cast. I play Vivian Bower, this high-class drug addict socialite, who gets murdered in the pilot episode. Meagan Good’s character Johanna she is a police officer, undercover into the Bowers household to solve the mystery of my death. It is a “Revenge” meets “Twin Peaks”. I get to come back in flashbacks so that is really great.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” Cast Interview Series

One of the world’s most popular characters is back on the big screen as a new chapter in the Spider-Man legacy is revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man™. Focusing on an untold story that tells a different side of the Peter Parker story, the new film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, with Martin Sheen and Sally Field. The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay written by James Vanderbilt, based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the film in association with Marvel Entertainment for Columbia Pictures, which will open in theaters everywhere in 3D on July 3, 2012.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with a few of the film’s cast over the last few months including Chris Zylka (Flash Thompson), Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben), Max Charles (Young Peter Parker), Miles Elliot (Billy Connors) & Rhys Ifans (Dr. Conners/The Lizard). Enjoy the interviews!


Chris Zylka

Martin Sheen

Max Charles

Miles Elliot

Rhys Ifans

CD Review “Once- The New Musical: Original Cast Recording”

Once: The New Musical
Original Cast Recording
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Label: Masterworks Broadway
Tracks: 13
Running Time: 45 minutes

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Academy Award-winning film, “Once” is one of my favorite films. The music in the film is so amazing and in fact, I have had the soundtrack on my iPhone since the film was originally released. When I heard that the film was being brought to Broadway, I was both nervous and extremely happy. Well let me tell you I was extremely satisfied with this cast recording and it only makes me want to see this play more now. Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová from The Swell Season are two of my favorite artists, even with their solo albums. I am not sure how this is possible but they took one of my favorites albums ever and ACTUALLY made it better.

“When Your Mind’s Made Up” and “Falling Slowing (Reprise)” are honestly breathtaking songs on this album. Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti plus backed by the rest of the cast in parts are simply show stopping!  I get chills listening to it every time and I can put these on repeat for hours, as can the whole album. The only issue I have with the album is that I am not truly fond of the two new songs, “Abandoned in Bandon” and Czech folk song “Ej Pada Pada Rosicka”. In fact I have the album on my iPhone and have taken off those songs. I also wanted to make a note about the track “The Moon”, which is performed by Will Connolly is also a treasure. I was originally taken back since it wasn’t performed by Steve but, holy crap!, I really dig it. Great chance they took and a wonderful payoff. Overall this album will be guaranteed to make my top albums of 2012 and I look forward to seeing this show.

Let me tell you Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti are absolutely perfect on the recording. Glen Hansard’s vocal range is hard to match and Steve really nails it and improves certain areas as well. One thing I noticed from the moment this album started is that I felt like it was recording live from the stage not in a recording studio. I felt that due to that it makes you feel like you are there on stage with them. I definitely feel that this process enhances the Martin Lowe’s amazing orchestrations and really showcases the live stage production. I recommend this highly to all fans of The Swell Season and Broadway fans a like, been sure to buy this album. Also make sure you get a chance to experience this show live on stage, if it is anything like the album it is sure to be absolutely amazing.

The Cast of “The Dirty Girl” Says “It Gets Better” In New Video

The stars and filmmaker of the new indie film DIRTY GIRL are speaking up and helping to spread the message, it gets better.

The film tells the story of a pair of mismatched misfits who must discover each other and themselves through a funny and serendipitous friendship. Abe Sylvia’s touching story of growing up in an intolerant place shares the universal message of hope, making it a great fit with author Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project.

For more information visit: www.itgetsbetter.org

Watch the video now below:

“Dancing With The Stars” Announced Cast For New Season

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
ABC Television Network
PRESS RELEASE – PRESS RELEASE – ENTERTAINMENT –
ABC ANNOUNCES CELEBRITY CAST FOR NEW SEASON OF DANCING WITH THE STARS

A DAZZLING NEW CAST OF STARS IS SET TO SHINE, AS “DANCING WITH THE STARS” RETURNS, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 ON ABC

“Dancing with the Stars the Results Show” Premieres in Week One With the First Elimination, Tuesday, September 20

Macy’s “Stars of Dance” Returns; and New This Season, “AT&T Spotlight Performance”
A dynamic lineup of stars – including a U.S. veteran, an NBA champion, a film and TV star, a TV host and journalist, a Grammy-nominated singer, a supermodel, a reality TV star, a showbiz legacy and activist, and a World Cup star — will take the stage for the two-hour season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars,” MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

All 12 couples will dance for the first time on live national television on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, either performing the Cha Cha Cha or The Viennese Waltz. Airing on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET.), a live, one-hour special, “Dancing with the Stars: Meet the Cast,” will feature the most exciting moments from Monday night’s performances, with commentary from the judges and never-before-seen footage from the teams’ first weeks of training. Then, on the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show,” TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER, 20 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET), the couple with the lowest combined judges’ scores and public votes for their performance will be sent home in the season’s first elimination.

The 12 celebrities heading to the dance floor this season, as announced tonight on ABC’s “Bachelor Pad” by “Dancing with the Stars” hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke in a live press conference sponsored by the September 16 film release, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” are:

DAVID ARQUETTE — David Arquette is an actor, writer, director, producer and soon to be dancer. In 1997 Arquette was discovered at Sundance for his role in “Johns.” Since that time, he has acted in dozens of feature films, including the “Scream” films, “Hamlet 2,” “The Grey Zone,” “Dream with the Fishes,” “Never Die Alone” and “The Darwin Awards.” This year he reprised his role as Deputy “Dewey” Riley in the much anticipated fourth installment of the “Scream” films. He has also joined the cast of the Disney Television interactive series, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” where he lends his voice as Scully, a lookout pirate parrot who helps Jake and his crew of kid pirates. In January 2003, Arquette formed a production company, Coquette Productions, with Courteney Cox. Through their company, he wrote and produced his directorial debut, “The Tripper,” as well as “The Butler’s in Love,” which he executive-produced and directed. Also under the Coquette banner he produced the F/X drama “Dirt” and ABC’s “Cougar Town,” with Bill Lawrence, which Arquette executive produces along with Cox, who stars. Up next, he will direct the 3D psychological thriller “Glutton” for Remember Dreaming Productions, executive-producing through Coquette.

RON ARTEST — Born in Queensbridge, New York, Ron Artest is currently a member of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and a father to four children. He was signed to a five-year contract by the L.A. Lakers as a free agent in 2009 and has been playing professional basketball in the NBA since 1999. He was selected to the 2005-06 NBA’s All-Defensive Team, was voted by the media as 2003-04 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and was the only man with 271 steals in his first two seasons in the NBA– breaking Michael Jordan’s record. Artest won his first World Championship ring in June 2010 after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals, and received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – the NBA’s highest citizenship and community service honor – in April 2011. In his career, he has played for the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and now the Los Angeles Lakers. He has remained an active contributor in his hometown and in the home cities of the organizations for which he has played, as well as in regions globally that require urgent humanitarian aid. In August 2007, Artest formed the non-profit Xcel University to officially organize and streamline his charitable contributions and community endeavors under one umbrella. He joined a contingent of representatives from the NBA Players Association working with Feed the Children, as well as Project Contact Africa, and became a spokesman in PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) A.B.C. (Animal Birth Control) campaign in 2007. In the fall of 2008, Artest launched The Artest Math Masters program at Felix Cook Jr. Elementary School in partnership with the Houston Independent School District, which rewarded students who maintained high grades in Mathematics during the 2008-2009 school year. In fall 2010, he decided to raffle off his 2010 NBA World Championship Ring, with the proceeds going to Xcel University. Funds raised through the ring raffle were earmarked for non-profits that provide mental health therapists and mental health services to those who wouldn’t be able to otherwise afford them. Artest has visited dozens of community centers, schools and libraries in low income areas of numerous cities throughout his career, speaking to kids about the virtues of education and a life devoid of violence and drugs, and on the importance of getting a college education. He sponsors summer basketball tournaments in the Queensbridge Projects in New York City, sends kids from Queensbridge to summer camps, and pays tuition for kids from Queensbridge who show academic promise to attend private schools. In June 2011, he filed a petition to legally change his name to Metta World Peace.

CHAZ BONO — Chaz Bono is an LGBT rights advocate, three time author, speaker and the only child of famed entertainers Sonny and Cher. His decision to come out as a Lesbian in 1995 prompted his public work in support of LGBT rights and social justice. Chaz has contributed as a writer-at-large to The Advocate and, in 1996, became the Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Day spokesperson. He also served as Entertainment Media Director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and has spoken at dozens of universities and LGBT events. An acclaimed author, he has written three books, including Transition, which was released by Dutton on May 10th. Transition is his groundbreaking and candid account of a 40-year struggle to match his gender identity with his physical body. He has most recently shared his life and experiences in the three-time Emmy nominated documentary, “Becoming Chaz.” Premiering to standing ovations at this year’s Sundance, “Becoming Chaz” had its world television premiere on May 10, 2011 on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Chaz continues to create visibility, raise awareness and effect change for LGBT issues. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his fiancé, Jennifer Elia.

ELISABETTA CANALIS – Known for her gorgeous figure and striking expressions, Elisabetta Canalis became an instantly recognizable figure in the world of high fashion and advertising. She has worked with some of the greatest fashion icons, including Roberto Cavalli, and has graced such magazine covers as Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ and Cosmopolitan. Born in Sassari, Sardinia, Italy, Canalis’ father, Cesare and mother, Bruna enrolled Elisabetta in the elite school Liceo Azuni, where she studied throughout her high school years. After graduating, she moved to Milan to study foreign languages at the prestigious Universita Statale. It was there that she made the bold career decision to pursue acting rather than foreign languages, and her enthusiasm for her craft soon landed her a series regular role on the infamous Italian television drama, “Striscia la Notizia,” for three years. The exposure and critical acclaim she received presented Canalis the opportunity to work in American & Italian film and TV. She has since appeared in the comedies “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” and “Virgin Territory.” In Italy she appeared in the films “La Seconda Volta Non Si Scorda Mai,” “La fidanzata di papa,” “A Natale mi Sposo,” as well as “Christmas in NY.” Television credits include the Italian series “Carabinieri” and the sitcom “Love Bugs.” Canalis has also demonstrated her impressive dramatic capabilities in America with a recurring role on TNT’s smash hit, “Leverage.” Her entertainment career continued to blossom after her big screen debut. Her drive for success and passion for music were united when she hosted the Italian version of “Total Request Live,” as well as Italy’s annual music festival, Festivalbar 2007. Recently she co-hosted the 61st edition of the Sanremo Music Festival, which is considered to be the most prestigious television event in Italy. Canalis is also known for her great philanthropic endeavors. Combining her deep love of animals and her passion for modeling, she participated in an upcoming anti-fur campaign with PETA. An avid equestrian for the past 10 years, she says that her opposition to animal cruelty began as a young girl. Her work with PETA solidifies her determination to end all forms of animal abuse and neglect. Canalis currently resides in Los Angeles, California and Milan, Italy but she loves coming back to Sardinia, the island where she was born and where part of her family lives.

KRISTIN CAVALLARI — Born in Denver, Colorado, Kristin Cavallari moved to California with her brother and father as a high school junior when the first season of “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” began production for MTV. She was nominated for a Teen Choice Award in 2006 for Choice Reality Star. After completing two successful years on the hit show, Cavallari switched gears to focus on a career in acting. From 2006-2009 she starred in such films as “Van Wilder: Freshman Year,” “Green Flash,” “Spring Breakdown” and “Wild Cherry,” alongside Rumer Willis and Rob Schneider. Next she played a guest role on “CSI: NY,” and most recently on ABC’s “The Middle.” Other credits include “Veronica Mars,” the lead role in Teddy Geiger’s “For You I Will (Confidence)” music video and Gavin Degraw’s video for his single, “In Love with a Girl.” In May 2009, Cavallari confirmed that she would be joining the cast of MTV’s reality series “The Hills.” Currently serving as ambassador of children’s charity One Kid One World, Cavallari joins the fight to aid underprivileged children around the globe. In 2010 she traveled to El Salvador, where she spent time rebuilding schools in local communities. Continuing her humanitarian efforts, she made her way to Kenya in early 2011 for another project for One Kid One World. Most recently Cavallari combined her passion for fashion and love for charity by teaming up with Shoe Dazzle to design a spring shoe, with proceeds benefiting the charity. Her new spring shoe, named Bardot, will be available in summer of 2011.

NANCY GRACE — An outspoken, tireless advocate for victims’ rights and one of TV’s most respected legal analysts, Nancy Grace is the powerful force behind HLN’s top-rated “Nancy Grace.” A former prosecutor with an unparalleled record of success, Grace’s life changed forever in 1979 when her fiancé, Keith Griffin, was shot and killed. She abandoned plans to become an English professor and turned to criminal justice. Her first book, Objection!, became an instant New York Times bestseller, as did her two subsequent novels, The Eleventh Victim and Death on the D-List. A television movie adaptation of The Eleventh Victim is currently in development. Grace initially came to TV from the Atlanta Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, where she served for over a decade as a felony prosecutor of violent crimes. Known for her authentic sensibility and her firebrand take on the justice system, she was tapped to co-host Court TV’s “Cochran and Grace,” and later, the live daily trial coverage program, “Closing Arguments.” Grace, her husband and her twins reside in Atlanta and New York City.

ROB KARDASHIAN — Born in Los Angeles, California, Rob Kardashian is the fourth child and only son of the late attorney Robert Kardashian and Kris Jenner; he has five sisters, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Rob graduated from the prestigious Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California with a degree in Business Entrepreneurship. He stars in the No. 1 hit reality television show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” and also stars in the hit series for E!, “Khloe & Lamar.” True to the entrepreneurial attitude he developed during college, Rob is involved in several business ventures. He is co-manager of the pop music, female super-group BG5, alongside renowned manager Kenneth Crear. He also enjoys a successful modeling career as the face of the popular brand Ocean Pacific. Rob travels across the country making personal appearances for club venues and charity events. In his spare time, he maintains an active lifestyle. He runs and plays basketball with his NBA Laker Champion brother-in-law, Lamar Odom, loves to play golf, and is an avid skier. Rob currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with his sister, Khloe, and Lamar.

CARSON KRESSLEY — Emmy-winning television star, celebrity stylist, author and fashion designer Carson Kressley is currently starring in “Carson-Nation,” a one-hour reality show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, in which he travels to small towns throughout the U.S., transforming lives one person at a time. Previously, Kressley helmed Lifetime’s critically-acclaimed “How to Look Good Naked,” and earned a primetime Emmy for his role on Bravo’s breakout hit series, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” He hosted ABC’s “True Beauty” from executive producers Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher, the WB series “Crowned,” as well as “Your Own Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star” on OWN. He was a frequent style contributor on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Kressley co-starred in Universal’s “The Perfect Man” and opposite John Goodman in NBC’s “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” Host of the 2008 True Colors tour with Cyndi Lauper and the B52’s, which raised awareness and promoted equality for the LGBT community, Kressley is also a New York Times best-selling author with three books to his credit, including the children’s book You’re Different and That’s Super, a children’s book promoting diversity and tolerance. A strong supporter of many philanthropic causes, he has worked with The Trevor Project, The Human Rights Campaign, The Empire State Pride Agenda, LIGALY, GLSEN, AIDS WALK, and the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation. Kressley is the founder of Manhattan’s Ali Forney Center’s “Styled For Success” program, which provides career wardrobes for formerly homeless youth, and was the founding donor of the first scholarship program for LGBT youth in his hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania. When he is not working, he can be found on one of his American Saddlebred show horses, with which he has achieved World Champion status.

RICKI LAKE — Poised to return to daytime television with the all-new “The Ricki Lake Show” in the fall of 2012, Ricki Lake is a pop culture icon who has built a career on her candid, “straight talk” sensibility and her authentic, relatable nature. She has maintained a worldwide fan base that is a true cross-section of age and ethnicity, and her approachable appeal has charmed international movie and television audiences for more than two decades. As Tracy Turnblad, the zaftig heroine of the original John Waters’ film “Hairspray,” Lake made an acting debut that positioned her as an “entertainer to watch” in Hollywood. Later, with a surprise turn as a talk show host, she met with unprecedented success and earned her place as a beloved media personality across the globe. Lake has recently completed work on a memoir due on shelves in the spring 2012. In addition, she executive-produced the critically acclaimed documentary, “The Business of Being Born,” which debuted at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and examines natural childbirth in the United States. That project has generated a grassroots movement and led to the publication of her first book, Your Best Birth. On November 8, 2011, Lake and her filmmaking partner, Abby Epstein, will release a four-part follow-up DVD series, “More Business of Being Born,” offering invaluable information and featuring birth stories from some of Hollywood’s most notable celebrities. Lake starred in John Waters’ “Cry Baby,” opposite Johnny Depp, and “Serial Mom,” alongside Kathleen Turner. Other notable appearances include the contemporary classic “Working Girl,” the acclaimed drama “Last Exit to Brooklyn,” the romantic comedy “Mrs. Winterbourne,” opposite Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser, and “Where the Day Takes You,” opposite Dermot Mulroney. She also starred in the CBS film “Babycakes” and the popular television series “China Beach” and “The King of Queens.”

J.R. MARTINEZ –– J.R. Martinez is an Iraq War veteran, motivational speaker and actor on ABC’s “All My Children.” In April 2003, at 19 years of age, Martinez was serving as a humvee driver for the United States Army in Iraq when his left front tire hit a landmine. He suffered smoke inhalation and burns to more than 40 percent of his body. He was immediately evacuated and sent to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, TX, where he spent 34 months in recovery. Since his injury, Martinez has undergone 33 different surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery. While in recovery, he started speaking to other burn patients within the hospital, sharing his experiences and listening to theirs. News of his story and efforts to help others quickly spread, first on a local level and then to national circuits, leading to appearances on “Oprah,” “60 Minutes,” CNN and more. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Martinez has traveled the country since 2004, spreading his message of resilience and optimism. Today he is a sought-after motivational speaker and has shared the stage with many notable individuals. In October 2008, he joined the cast of ABC’s Emmy® Award-winning daytime drama, “All My Children,” as combat veteran Brot Monroe. He continues to balance his motivational speaking engagements and charity work with his acting. He is also busy working on his memoir. Born in Shreveport, LA, Martinez moved to Hope, AZ, where he and his mother lived until he was 17. They moved to Dalton, GA, just prior to his senior year, the place he proudly calls his hometown.

CHYNNA PHILLIPS — Wife, mother, singer/songwriter, actress, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Chynna Phillips has been surrounded by Hollywood since she first entered this world. Born to musicians John and Michelle Phillips of famed 60’s group The Mamas and The Papas, Chynna began her acting career appearing in John Hughes’ 1982 teen-sensation, “Some Kind of Wonderful.” She followed up with roles in 1988’s “Caddyshack II,” 1989’s “Say Anything,” and played the character Roxanne Pulitzer in the 1989 TV biopic, “Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer.” Next Phillips, along with childhood friends Carnie & Wendy Wilson, formed the trio Wilson Phillips. In 1990 the group released their self-titled debut album which would go on to sell ten million copies worldwide, go 5x multi-platinum, with three No. 1 singles. Billboard declared them the best selling female group of all time, breaking the record previously set by Motown’s The Supremes. Wilson Phillips was nominated for five Grammy Awards, an American Music Award and won a Billboard Music Award (for “Hold On” and “Release Me,” written by Phillips). Taking a break from the group, Phillips released a successful solo album entitled “Naked & Sacred,” while also filming and starring in the lead role of the television remake of famed Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” That same year she also married husband and fellow actor William Baldwin. She then took time off to focus on family, and had three children, while also reclaiming herself and becoming a Christian. In 2004 she reunited with Wilson Phillips and they released their 3rd album, “California,” which paid homage to west coast musicians from the 1960s and 1970s. In 2009 Phillips teamed up with singer/songwriter Vaughan Penn to form the Christian pop duo Chynna & Vaughan, and put out an album entitled “One Reason.” Shortly thereafter, Wilson Phillips also released their 1st Christmas album, “Wilson Phillips Christmas in Harmony.” Earlier this year, it was announced that Wilson Phillips would be reuniting again for an album of original music to celebrate their 20 years together as a musical group. The group was also featured in this year’s blockbuster comedy film, “Bridesmaids.” Phillips works with the charity Los Angelitos Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico, which is devoted to helping the children who are displaced by the constant violence in the city and to creating a warm and loving environment for the kids.

HOPE SOLO — Hope Solo is widely considered the best goalkeeper in the world and has been the starter for the United States women’s national team since 2005. She scored 109 goals as a high school forward before moving to goal at the University of Washington near her hometown of Richland, Washington. At the 2011 World Cup, Solo recorded two shutouts in group play, and then, in what is considered one of the greatest soccer games in history, made a save in a penalty shootout against Brazil in the quarterfinal, helping the Americans advance to the semis. The U.S. reached the final, falling to Japan in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw. Solo was awarded the Adidas Golden Glove by FIFA as the tournament’s top goalkeeper. She was also the starting goalkeeper for the United States in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where the U.S. women’s team won the gold medal by defeating Brazil 1-0 in extra time, in no small measure due to Solo’s performance as she stopped an energetic Brazilian attack, making save after save. Solo started her Women’s Professional Soccer career playing for Saint Louis Athletica, and was named Goalkeeper of the Year in 2009. Since then she has played for the Atlanta Beat and currently plays for magicJack as the starting goalkeeper, and is a two-time WPS All Star. When not playing soccer, Solo enjoys reading, basketball, beach volleyball and other outdoor activities. She loves traveling the world and gives back through community service projects.

“Dancing with the Stars” returns with a few huge new surprises, plus all the elements viewers have come to know and love. “Macy’s Stars of Dance,” which features some of the best choreographers and performers from different styles of dance and offers viewers performances that represent the peak of achievement in their genres, will return on “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show.” One of the “Macy’s Stars of Dance” performances will be the popular “Design-a-Dance,” where fans have the chance to select their favorite professional dancers, dance styles, songs and costumes at www.abc.com. New this season will be “AT&T’s Spotlight Performance,” which features and celebrates people whose lives have been changed forever by dance.

Below are key dates for Season 13 (dates and times subject to change):

* “Dancing with the Stars'” two-hour season premiere, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET)
* “Dancing with Stars: Meet the Cast” one-hour special, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET)
* “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show” one-hour season premiere, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET)
* “Dancing with the Stars'” season finale, NOVEMBER 2011 (date TBA).

Hosted by Tom Bergeron (“America’s Funniest Home Videos”) and Brooke Burke (“Dancing with the Stars” Season Seven Champion), the celebrities perform choreographed dance routines which will be judged by renowned Ballroom judge Len Goodman and dancer/choreographers Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba.

Viewers may cast their votes for their favorite teams via phone on Monday night during and up to 30 minutes after the “Dancing with the Stars” performance shows. AT&T customers may also text message their votes by texting the word “VOTE” and entering the number that corresponds to the team they want to support (message and data rates may apply). Viewers may also vote online at www.abc.com starting from the opening of each episode on the East Coast with voting closing at 8:00 a.m., PT/11:00 a.m., ET on Tuesday mornings.

Just in time for the big casting news, ABC.com is launching its new “Discuss” pages, www.abc.tv/DWTSDiscuss. In addition to featuring the show’s official Twitter and Facebook feeds, the pages are designed to make it easier to find, follow and dive into conversations that are happening around the show. Site producers will be actively pulling and highlighting conversations that are really resonating with fans, trending on Twitter or are simply fun or different. Throughout the season the ABC.com team will use the page to share exclusive content, host talent chats and, ultimately, highlight the uber fans that participate the most.

“Dancing with the Stars” is the U.S. version of the international smash hit series, “Strictly Come Dancing.” This version is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Conrad Green serves as executive producer and Ashley Edens-Shaffer and Joe Sungkur are co-executive producers. Alex Rudzinski directs. “Dancing with the Stars” is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.

Tonight’s live “DWTS” cast announcement was sponsored by the upcoming feature film, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and produced by The Weinstein Company.

About BBC Worldwide Productions:
BBC Worldwide Productions, led by Jane Tranter, is based in Los Angeles and develops and produces scripted and non-scripted projects for U.S. cable and broadcast networks, as well as digital platforms. The production company is responsible for the smash hit “Dancing with the Stars” (ABC), “Top Gear” (HISTORY), “What Not to Wear” (TLC) and “Torchwood: Miracle Day” (Starz). BBC Worldwide Productions sits within one of six core businesses that form BBC Worldwide, the main commercial arm and wholly-owned subsidiary of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

About The Weinstein Company:
The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, which has released such popular franchises as “Scream,” “Spy Kids” and “Scary Movie.” Together TWC and Dimension Films released Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech,” winner of four 2011 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. Upcoming releases include “Our Idiot Brother,” “Apollo 18,” “Dirty Girl,” “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” “My Week with Marilyn” and “The Artist.” Recently wrapped is “Cogan’s Trade.” TWC’s television credits include the Emmy® Award-winning hit reality series “Project Runway,” the new VH1 reality series “Mob Wives” and the critically acclaimed HBO comedy/crime series “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.” The company is producing three “Project Runway” spinoffs, “Project Runway All Stars,” “Project Runway: Masters” and “Project Runway: Accessories.” The company currently has 17 series in development, including: “Marco Polo,” “The Nanny Diaries” and “The Mad Ones.”

All Star Voice Cast Lines Up for Animated Family Feature “Escape from Planet Earth”

Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry, James Gandolfini and Craig Robinson Provide The Character Voices In This Fun-Filled Alien Break-Out Tale

NEW YORK, NY August 2, 2011 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) and Rainmaker Entertainment announced today the all-star voice cast for ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH which includes Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry, James Gandolfini and Craig Robinson. The 3D animated family comedy is currently in full production.

The announcement was made today by Donna Gigliotti, TWC’s President of Production, and Catherine Winder, President and Executive Producer, Rainmaker Entertainment. Both Gigliotti and Winder serve as producers on the animated feature film.

ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH is directed by Cal Brunker, best known for his work on the animated feature films DESPICABLE ME, 9 and HORTON HEARS A WHO! Producers Gigliotti and Winder are joined by Rainmaker’s Luke Carroll as a producer on the film. TWC Co-Chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein are executive producers. The film was written by Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen based on an original screenplay by Tony Leech and Cory Edwards.

“ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH has got it all… explosions, romance and a cast of hilarious aliens….what more could you ask for?” said Brunker. “We are having a great time making it which is coming across on the screen. It will ultimately provide a ton of fun for both kids and their parents.”

“We’re excited to have such a talented group of actors bringing this action-packed comedic tale to life,” said Gigliotti. “I’m also very pleased to be working with Catherine and the Rainmaker team. Their outstanding artistry, storytelling and techniques in CGI animation add a new dimension to this film and ensure a fun movie going experience for the entire family.”

Winder added, “A successful animated movie starts with an imaginative story and appealing characters. The addition of such high caliber voice talent is a crucial layer to the mix. With the amazing array of talented artists and creatives from both The Weinstein Company and Rainmaker collaborating on this production, we have all the right ingredients to make ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH a highly entertaining and successful film.”

The 3D animated family comedy ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH catapults movie goers to planet Baab where admired astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population. A master of daring rescues, Scorch pulls off astonishing feats with the quiet aid of his nerdy, by-the-rules brother, Gary (Rob Corddry), head of mission control at BASA. When BASA’s no-nonsense chief Lena (Jessica Alba) informs the brothers of an SOS from a notoriously dangerous planet, Scorch rejects Gary’s warnings and bounds off for yet another exciting mission. But when Scorch finds himself caught in a fiendish trap set by the evil Shanker (James Gandolfini), it’s up to scrawny, risk-adverse Gary to do the real rescuing. As the interplanetary stakes rise to new heights, Gary is left to save his brother, his planet, his beloved wife Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker) and their adventure hungry son Kip!

A film from The Weinstein Company, ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH is produced in association with Rainmaker Entertainment and will be released in the U.S. in 2012.

"The Last Exorcism" Interviews Series

At Media Mikes, we are a big fan of horror movie genre. When I heard that “The Last Exorcism” was coming out, I knew I needed to get interviews from that cast. I set out to contact everyone that I could get a hold of and below we have some amazing interviews from the cast of the film.

I really hope everyone enjoys these interviews as much as I did doing them. These people in the film are so great. Each and every one of them has fantastic stories from the film and they were a pleasure to interview. I would hope that I could have the opportunity to talk with them again very soon.

Enjoy and please leave comments!