September 19, 2018
‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Adds Lee Majdoub
by Amanda N’Duka
In other Paramount news, actor Lee Majdoub has joined the cast of Paramount Pictures’ live-action/CGI Sonic the Hedgehog feature with Jim Carrey, James Marsden, and Tika Sumpter starring, along with Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic. Based on the 90s Sega video game, the film is being directed by Oscar nominee Jeff Fowler. It centers on Sonic and his friends, such as Tails and Knuckles, who run around collecting items and points as they attempt to foil the global domination plans of Doctor Eggman Robotnik. Majdoub, whose credits include Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and CBS’s Zoo, will play Agent Stone, who works closely with Carrey’s Doctor Robotnik. Pat Casey and Josh Miller penned the screenplay. Neal H. Moritz is producing along with DJ2 Entertainment. Deadpool director Tim Miller and Toby Ascher are serving as executive producers. The pic will be out in theaters November 15, 2019. Majdoub is repped by RED Management.
June 1, 2018
Victoria Atkin and Patricia Summersett – MCM London Q&A
Have you been enjoying yourselves at Comic Con? What are the appeal of events like this for you guys?
VA: *Laughs* I’m really tempted to sarcastically reply to everything.
PS: *Laughs* Yeah, like ‘Absolutely not!’ It’s so great. This is my first time at MCM and there are a few reasons why MCM is so wonderful. I think the sheer sort of size and the beautiful city of London is magical. I like meeting the other guests myself and MCM has a lot of charm. Victoria and I went to the same school several years back in London and I haven’t been back to London since so I’m very nostalgic.
VA: For me, I get to come home. I live in LA and my family is all here. It’s just wonderful to be back. I used to live on the Royal Victoria docks. It’s really crazy that I was living there as a student with no money. I hadn’t done Hollyoaks, I’d done nothing and now I’m signing at this. It’s almost surreal in a way. I love doing MCM!
Is there any role in any other game or medium that you wish you were in?
VA: Zelda. *Laughs* I wish I’d been Zelda. Actually, Zelda is a really cool part and Patricia does such a great job. I’d have loved to have been Lara Croft but I was busy making Evie happen. I’m almost happier to be Evie since it was something new. There are so many cool things coming out. I’d like to be a female lead in Call of Duty. I’m doing two new games that come out this year which I can’t say anything about and one of them I’m really excited to be joining the franchise. There’s nothing specific but if they make a Wonder Woman video game, I’d love to be the voice.
PS: In terms of games and franchises I’d like to be part of, there’s a really big part of me that would like to be a part of the Overwatch family. I love all the actors that I’ve met and they’re such a cool community to hang out with. Otherwise, I grew up with Princess of Power and if anything in that world came my way, I would flip.
What do you think is the appeal of the many iterations of Assassin’s Creed?
PS: I think Victoria has one of her own answers being one of the leads. For me, I love the way that they pull from history and how they mix fact and fiction in a really fantastic way and how they jump around the world and go into great detail in the locations. They’ve been really groundbreaking, great storytelling and narrative.
VA: First of all, they have the most loyal fanbase. The fans of assassin’s creed are so loyal and incredible and support every game. *Chuckles* Even if it has glitches and problems sometimes. They still support it and love it. I agree with everything Patricia has said. The great about Syndicate was reliving Victorian England. You can watch films and documentaries but you don’t get to experience running through the streets or riding horses and being in carriages. That and meeting historial characters like Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Florence Nightingale. Now it’s going to Egypt and it’s done the French Revolution. I think that’s why it’s successful. I don’t really advocate the violence of it but I guess that’s an appeal of being able to do those moves and be an assassin.
What has been your favourite moment playing Evie?
VA: My favourite moment was San Diego Comic Con when we released the game. I didn’t understand how big that franchise was until San Diego when we were sitting at a panel with thousands of people in front of us excited for the launch of this game. It was one of, if not, the highlight of my career so far. It began to put over the scale of what the franchise was about and how important it is to so many people. I really felt honoured to be a playable female character for the first time in this franchise. It made my dreams come true because it was like I was doing it for the female gamers, for women, we’re making this huge step. I was hoping it would be received well and thankfully it was. It was an amazing moment and it wasn’t in the game but that was part of the whole process that was really magical.
What was the transition like playing as Evie and playing as Zelda?
VA: It was definitely my first step into video games and motion capture. I fell in love with this. I love motion capture. I love the hybrid between the theatre and film world. The technology of it in bringing this character to life through technology, animation and dots on my face. I’m fascinated by it and to do that was definitely a step to where the future is going and that’s really exciting to me.
PS: The journey of becoming Zelda was really incredible. It has led to travelling to all over the world. My first Comic Con was in Kuwait. The people you suddenly get a chance to meet around the world and how small it all gets. I’d been a voice and theatrical actor for ten years before Zelda came along. I never assumed I would be travelling through Comic Cons but it was exactly my dream and opened a lot of things up.
You play very prominent female characters in big franchises. There’s a constant discussion on how the industry represents women and how they treat them. What are your thoughts on that?
PS: I think there’s a lot of evolution with playable female leads like Horizon: Zero Dawn, Assassin’s Creed and Lara Croft but there is a long way to go. If you look at a breakdown of anything, you usually find that even if there’s a prominent female role upfront, you get a breakdown of two women and eight men. That’s kinda standard and I see it all the time even with people trying very hard to change that. I think there are leaps and bounds to be made and I hope it’ll happen in future.
VA: Yeah, my first role I had to play a boy to get in. *Chuckles* Just to get in the door. I feel very lucky in my career to play these figureheads as a woman but I also feel very alone when I do it. Because it’s generally me and a lot of men. I like to put my foot forward and be the female character in a show. I just did a new sci-fi show where I’m the female lead. It’s called Extinct. There was only one other woman on the show with me and the rest were men. I also think with video games, behind the scenes, it’s changing but there isn’t enough female writers, producers or heads of video games. I would love to see a female video game company. You know, there’s too many male driven companies that aren’t seeing the bigger picture but it is changing. I just worked on Horizon: Zero Dawn and I loved that game. I love Geurilla Games and they’re one of my favourite companies that I’ve worked for. I feel like it’s equal and I feel very blessed to have played two female characters in The Frozen Wilds. I just did a new game and had my heart broke because I got into the booth and this character came up and I was like ‘Where’s her clothes?’ It sent into turmoil as it had been against what I had been doing. I did it and it’s a great game but it was like a step backwards as it reminded it was still happening. As Patricia said, we’re evolving all the time but there are still some big jumps we need to make. Unfortunately, we are still discussing it but maybe when our daughters are here, they won’t be.
Do you think that’s because there are active barriers in place? Or is it also driven by women not going into the industry?
PS: I think it’s a combination of both of those things. There’s a streamer called Ammuniation who streams for Rainbow Six. Kudos to Ubisoft, they have a lot of playable female characters in that who are very tough and fabulous. I play Ash in that series and I get to meet a lot of them and we always celebrate that about it. She’s a well-known streamer online and very professional but the girl hate she receives is unbelievable. People coming on saying ‘Are you a gamer girl? Get off!’ It shouldn’t matter but there is a lot of bullying just for being a woman. I watched a stream of Rainbow Six during the Pro League and they do their best to help the women who are there. The streams you see and people say things that I can’t repeat. A girl who popped up who’s talking about very technical things about a game she worked on and she got blasted. I think a lot of that is changing too. A lot more women are coming forward and saying they’ve been a gamer their whole life. A lot of people are accepting of that but until that toxidicty changes, I think that’s a huge element of why there’s an imbalance.
VA: You have to have great confidence. Even as Evie on set, it was me and if I was lucky, another woman and forty men. I don’t get intimated very easily but it was hard to speak up because you’re outnumbered. I’m sure any guy would feel the same if the situation was reversed. I’m so happy we’re having these conversations especially at MCM with Patricia. We did a podcast with Sissy Jones from Firewatch and we met Lucy from Overwatch. We’re really coming together and even when I first did Assassin’s Creed, this wasn’t here so that’s cool. Another thing I really want to see is, not having masculine feminine characters. They’re allowed to be female and natural without being a sex object and they can be a female character without being butch. I would love to see something everyday. Something that is in-between that. In order to get in this man’s world, you wear a leather jacket and you fight to be relatable so they respect you. The opposite is that if you’re sexualised then there’s no respect. Rainbow Six is great to have all these tough characters. Evie’s tough and I like her academic side as she reads books but let’s see more of that. More Hermione Granger types and they don’t have to be a menace or a sex object.
March 9, 2016
After spending eight years in development hell, the indie horror thriller PET finally went into production last year with Dominic Monaghan in the lead role he had been signed on to play since 2008. This Friday at midnight, PET will be making its world premiere at the South by Southwest festival, and in advance of this director Carles Torrens has released a teaser clip online.
Monaghan plays Seth, a man who bumps into his old high school crush and quickly becomes obsessed with her. He takes her captive underneath the animal shelter where he works but soon suspects that his old flame is not who she seems to be.
Ksenia Solo portrays the object of Seth’s obsession, and in the clip, which can be seen below, Seth awkwardly tries to make a move on her while she’s working her shift as a waitress. This attempt at wooing quickly crumbles into creepiness.
PET was written by Jeremy Slater, who scripted THE LAZARUS EFFECT and is currently developing THE EXORCIST into a television series. Torrens says their film is ruthless and unapologetic, but is also a fun ride full of thrills, chills, and a few chuckles.
This is a film I am very much looking forward to seeing, and I will definitely be paying attention to the word of mouth that comes out of its SXSW screening this weekend.