Zac Efron became an international teen star due to his role in the 'High School Musical' film franchise, but Efron is now taking on more mature roles in films such as, 'The Lucky One' -- and the former "Pin-up King" is loving every minute of it.
It wasn’t all that long ago that you could walk into the bedrooms of young tweener (eight- to ten-year-olds) and teen girls and find posters of Zachary David Alexander Efron (aka Zac Efron) plastered all over their bedroom walls. His face was a staple on teenybopper magazines and his movies -- from the three High School Musical pictures to 17 Again -- were rating hits and box office smashes -- with theaters filled with screaming young girls who would return week after week to swoon over Zac’s boyishly handsome face on the silver screen. In 2008, when Efron became legal (turning 21), he starred in his third and final High School Musical flick (subtitled Senior Year). After the release of 17 Again, the following year, Efron began a personal quest to make more “meaningful” motion pictures and take on roles that were closer to him in age.
Efron appeared in a handful of movies over the past three years -- including the little-seen Charlie St. Cloud and the modestly successful ensemble mega-pic New Year’s Eve -- before stumbling onto the screenplay for The Lucky One, a motion picture based on author Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling book of the same name. A dramatic love story, The Lucky One (available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning August 28) follows the trials of a war veteran, with a damaged psyche, who finds a mysterious photo of a beautiful woman that leads him to a timeless romance. The lead role of Logan would demand a great deal from Efron -- both emotionally and physically -- but most importantly, it required the one-time teen idol to “man-up” -- in other words, to become a more mature, adult film actor.
Logan (Efron) returns home after three tours of duty in Iraq
"In a way it does,” the now 24-year-old actor answers when I inquire if The Lucky One represents the “rebranding” of Zac Efron as a Hollywood actor. “But, more than anything, I think it was part of a progression that I have been working on for a long time. As I get older, I want to do roles that fit me. I don’t want to still be playing a teenager when I’m thirty. In The Lucky One, I thought that the role of Logan was a part that fit. In fact, it seemed to fit perfectly.”
However, before filming began on The Lucky One, Efron wasn’t completely confident he was ready to take on a role as demanding as Logan. “To be honest, I was really scared when I read the script, because I knew that I really liked the character, but at the same time, I thought maybe I was completely wrong for it,” he recalls. "You couldn’t have two more different people than Logan and myself. You know what I mean? I think we’re similar in certain ways, but so drastically different in others. But, finally, I was like, ‘This is one of those roles that can separate you from the things you‘ve done before. It’s going to be incredibly challenging and scary, but I think it’ll be worth it.’ And, it was.”
In The Lucky One, Efron portrays U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault, a soldier suffering from post-traumatic syndrome, who returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive -- a photograph he found of a woman he doesn't even know. Discovering her name is Beth (Taylor Schilling) and where she lives, he shows up at her door, and ends up taking a job at her family-run local kennel. Despite her initial mistrust and the complications in her life, a romance develops between them, giving Logan hope that Beth could be much more than his good luck charm.
Zac Efron as Logan
To prepare for the role, Efron would go through a dramatic physical transformation (which included intense weight training) and an equally profound emotional awakening (after going through combat training with actual U.S. men in uniform). He spent an enourmous amount of time with real-life Marines in order to get a better understanding of the character of Logan. However, much to his surprise, working with the Marines had an unexpected side effect on him -- it would instill him with a whole new respect for America’s fighting men and women.
“I didn’t know the first thing about what it was like to be a Marine,” the California-native confesses. “But when that became palpable -- when I went to go and meet the Marines -- I realized they were of a whole different breed. I can’t believe we’re the same species. They’re the real life heroes, not movie stars. And, now, I feel so embarrassed when I first met them. I walked in there slouching, wearing a dirty shirt and I think I still had drool on my face,“ he recalls with a big laugh. “It was the morning, and I had just woken up. So, here I am with drool on my face, and I’m meeting these guys who are true American heroes."
Logan (Efron) deals with many problems once he's home
Directed by Academy Award-nominated writer and director Scott Hicks (Shine), Efron stars alongside Taylor Schilling (Mercy), Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents franchise), Jay R. Ferguson, Riley Thomas Stewart and Adam LeFevre in The Lucky One. “I had the best time working with everyone in the cast,” says Efron, whose next project is the upcoming film The Paperboy, with Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey. “I really loved working with Scott Hicks, he’s an incredible director. Taylor (Schilling) and I got along from the instant we met, and I really connected with everyone else in the cast. Doing this movie has been one of the most incredible experiences of my career. It definitely changed me -- literally and figuratively.”
Does this mean his days of High School Musicals and playing tweener roles are over for good? “Well, the one thing I’ve learned, even at this age, is to never say never, especially in the movie business,” Efron admits. “But, as I mentioned, it’s been a progression for me. And, after doing The Lucky One, I don’t plan on taking any steps back. I like what I’m doing, and all I want to do is keep moving forward.”
Zac Efron as U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault in 'The Lucky One'
ZAC EFRON ON THE LUCKY ONE:Can you talk about the way that you bulked up for the film -- in terms of diet and fitness and workouts?
"It was an intense training program. I was guided every step of the way by this guy named Logan, who was a Navy Seal. And I had a very strict diet, everything was preplanned. I’ve never eaten that much food in my entire life."
Didn’t you gain close to 25 pounds of muscle?
"No, it was more like 17. Twenty-five pounds? No, not even close. It was just 17, but I can’t train like that all the time. It was the hardest thing ever."
What did you eat the most of to gain body bulk?
"It was a lot of chicken, a lot of vegetables, so much -- you would get sick at the sight of what I ate every day. What went down every day. Honestly, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s hard to go into detail without sounding completely obsessive. But it was very consuming."
Zac Efron potrays U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault and Taylor Schiling plays Beth in 'The Lucky One'
Everybody who worked with you on this film has talked about how funny and charming you are in real life, and you were talking about what an opposite character Logan is...
"Yeah. We paid everyone off to say nice things about me." (laughs)
So, what was it like switching in and out of the character of Logan throughout the six to 10 weeks of filming The Lucky One?
"Very method. Very, very method. So, how was it to go back and forth? Logan’s a man of few words. I try to never take anything too seriously, but he’s a bit more weighty I think. Maybe on set I would do that. But as soon as we got off I was straight back." (snaps his fingers)
What was it like shooting the combat scenes?
"The combat scenes were very fun to film. It was amazing standing at the front for that first moment with all these Marines behind you. They were real Marines and I was in the front looking back going, 'Guys, turn back. Turn back.'" (laughs)
U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Efron) in combat
Were the Marines cool with you? Did they treat you like a normal guy or one of them?
"They were incredibly nice and very helpful. And I think that for me, I tried to use these guys as much as I could and just be aware of what was going on and everything. The way they spoke to each other, their mannerisms, the way they moved. Just everything like that. I think that our passion for getting it right came across because they were so unbelievably helpful in helping us make it authentic."
What’s the most important thing you learned from any of the Marines or what was the most affecting thing that really got to you?
"I think the first time we met, initially, I was able to sit with (director) Scott Hicks, and we just started asking questions. Scott was so thoughtful and articulate. And he’s able to pay attention on a level that’s just unreal. Initially, it was hard watching them sort of go through things, they was very emotional. They weren’t emotional but you could tell there was an undercurrent of emotion."
Efron, Blythe Danner and Schilling on the set of 'The Lucky One'
How do you work on playing a character with post-traumatic disorder? In the better part of the movie it’s not so obvious, but there’s some scenes where you just can‘t ignore it. During the film, we see Logan having these strange hallucinations. How do you work in that aspect?
“Well, I could just imagine what it would sort of be like. I mean, I’m sure I can’t, but I was able to for the amount of time that I was able to hang out with them and to put myself in their shoes -- I can just imagine what it’s like. I mean the silly stuff we do, I feel like I get post-traumatic stress from sometimes. Then, I hear their stories and as heroic as they may be it must take it right out of you.”
Now that you are doing more mature roles, does that mean you’re done with the teen and tweener roles?
"I don’t know? I’m not sure what defines a teen, tween role. I don’t know?"
A movie like 17 Again and the High School Musical pictures, basically. Are you going to move more into the grown up male roles?
"Yeah, I mean ideally, as I get older."
Zac Efron with director Scott Hicks on the set of 'The Lucky One'
In your own life, do you believe in soul mates and all the themes in the movie?
"I will say that I feel there’s someone guiding me and presenting me with great opportunities. But, ultimately, it’s up to me to walk through them. Did that make any sense?"
Can you talk a little bit about the shower scene, where you and your costar, Taylor Schilling, are wet? Of course, there’s a lot of sexual connotations with it for a PG-13 movie. How was shooting that scene?
“It was tough. I used a lot of breath mints. Then, you go to lunch and come back and start shooting it again."
And you’re wet again.
"Yeah, but the water was actually pretty warm. It was actually kind of nice. I think the first time we did it, we didn’t know it was going to be cold and just shot it. Then, it warmed up. At that point, we knew each other really well. It was later in production and there was no awkward moment."
An intimate moment between Logan (Efron) and Beth (Schilling)
How did you feel when you see love or intimate scenes with yourself on the big screen?
"It’s an indescribable feeling. When we were in the theater, by the end of the scenes, I’m like under the seat. I don’t know what you call that feeling. (laughs) Taylor says she can’t watch it."
Was there an instant chemistry between you and Taylor? Or did you have to develop it?
"I think there was instant chemistry. The first time we met for the part, and in between when we were doing readings and stuff like that, we were talking and hanging out. She’s very down to earth and reminded me of not -- she didn’t seem like an actor. She’s a real person, very sweet and we got along in that sense, which is so, so important because otherwise it’s hard to make up for that."
Taylor Schilling as Beth in 'The Lucky One'
You recently filmed At Any Price in Chicago with the little know indie filmmaker...
"Ramin Bahrani. Yeah."
People think of you as a Hollywood star. Isn’t doing an indie film quite a nice little step out of your comfort zone?
"It was amazing. Ultimately, I want to make great films and cool movies. And when you find a filmmaker like Ramin, who’s doing that consistently but few people know about him, you want to work with then. It’s just amazing to see a sensibility like that and to think that he’d allow me to be a part of it and want me to be involved."
Logan (Efron) and Beth (Schilling) share their love in 'The Lucky One'
Who do you portray in At Any Price? Is it a father/son type of film since Dennis Quaid is in with you?
"It is. Yeah. And, it’s dramatic. It’s definitely dramatic. It’s about a family in the Midwest, a family of farmers that’s trying make it in today’s world, and the trials and tribulations that they go through. But it’s a wonderful story. It’s very cool."
You worked with the Marines for The Lucky One. For At Any Price, did you actually go on a farm and talk to people about their lives?
"Yeah, it was pretty amazing.”
Zac Efron in 'The Lucky One'
It sounds like you really enjoy going out and researching your roles in a very real way.
"Oh, yeah, I love it. It’s great. I mean the more you can become immersed in a role, the better it is for me, as an actor. Selfishly, it’s amazing."
For The Lucky One, you went through a physical and emotional change, received the training on how to hold and how to shoot a gun in combat. Basically, you became a Marine for this movie. Do you feel as if you have a new feeling or sense of confidence from making this film? Did you grow up during this movie experience?
"I think, without a doubt. Every time you have to sort of confront a lot of your fears when you go into a movie. I think this one was a big one. I though, ‘Can I do it? Can I get it right? I think I can. I think I can play a Marine. I think I can.’ But actually, when you get there it suddenly becomes very real. At the end of the day, I look back at everything that all of us accomplished and the type of film we made, and I’m very, very, very pleased with it. I’ll never forget all the things I learned playing this character. It was a big growing experience for me."
The Lucky One Blu-ray Combo Pack Bonus Features: “Zac Efron Becomes a Marine”; “Watch the Sparks Fly – The Romantic World of The Lucky One”; “Zac and Taylor’s Amazing Chemistry”; DVD with the Theatrical version and a UltraViolet Digital Copy. ON THE NET: To view trailers, clips, a photo gallery downloads and to learn more about the production of the film and the book on which it was based, visit the Official Warner Brothers Site @ http://theluckyonemovie.warnerbros.com * For additional clips, music videos from the soundtrack and more, head to YouTube and type in “The Lucky One.” The Lucky One Blu-ray Combo Pack will be available beginning August 28.NOW AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY & DVD:
The Dictator: Banned* & Unrated
The brilliant Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) returns as Third World ruler Admiral General Aladeen in the wonderfully outrageous comedy The Dictator in this all-new Banned* & Unrated Blu-ray/DVD version. The hysterical tale of an inept despot’s first trip to America. While visiting New York City, Admiral General Aladeen, the leader of Wadiya, is stripped of power and suddenly forced to live his ultimate nightmare -- the American dream. *The original theatrical version of The Dictator was banned in Malaysia and the Republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. In an "official" press release for the disc's release, Cohen (as Aladeen) said, "Although my film was subjected to the infamous authoritarian censorship of the West, thanks to Blu-ray and DVD you can finally see all the really naughty bits. I have your home address, so trust me, you WILL love it." The Dictator Banned* & Unrated is available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo that includes both an unrated version of the film with nearly 20 minutes of footage not seen in theaters, as well as the original theatrical version. In addition to Sacha Baron Cohen, The Dictator features an outstanding comedic ensemble including Anna Faris (Scary Movie), Ben Kingsley (Hugo), Jason Mantzoukas (The League), Chris Parnell (30 Rock), Bobby Lee (MADtv) and Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids). Blu-Ray Bonus Features: Unrated version in HD & Theatrical version in HD; UltaViolet; 15 Deleted and Extended Scenes; Larry King Interview and a the Music Video for the Best Love Song "Your Money’s On The Dresser." ON THE NET: For a sneak peak of scenes from The Dictator that you weren't able to see in theaters, head to www.republicofwadiya.com * For more, jump on Facebook @ http://www.Facebook.com/RepublicOfWadiya * You can view the Official Trailer @ www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYplvwBvGA4
NCIS: The Ninth Season
Special Agent Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) continues to lead the team at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as they probe into intense military matters, including national security breaches, a secret society of superheroes, and brutal murders -- one of which drops them in the heart of Afghanistan and another which leads them to a long-lost agent. Co-stars Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette, Rocky Carroll, Brian Dietzen and David McCallum comprise this do-or-die unit that seeks truth beyond a doubt and puts justice above all. On DVD for the first time, this must-own six-disc collection contains all 24 suspense-filled episodes from Season Nine of creator Donald P. Bellisario's gripping drama series. DVD Bonus Features: "Nine Is Fine"; "The Finish Line"; "Casting Off" "Episode 200"; NCIS: Season 9 -- Cast Roundtable; "Psyched Up: Jamie Lee Curtis On Set"; Audio Commentaries and Deleted Scenes. ON THE SET: Visit CBS Network's NCIS Official Site @ www.cbs.com/shows/ncisThe Tenth Season of NCIS premieres Tuesday, September 25th 8pmE/7pmC (Check local listings)
NCIS Los Angeles: The Third Season
Season 3 of NCIS: Los Angeles hits the ground shooting as the team lands in Romania to rescue their boss and friend, Hetty Lange (Oscar-winner Linda Hunt), from a ruthless crime family. But Hetty's mission is as much personal as it is professional, revealing a bombshell secret about team leader "G" Callen's (Chris O'Donnell) past. This secret culminates in the team's first-ever collaboration with Hawaii Five-O, in a joint effort to prevent a global pandemic... which ultimately brings Callen's vendetta full circle. The team pulls together with the bold moves of ex-Navy SEAL Sam Hanna (LL Cool J), Special Agent Kensi Klye (Daniela Ruah) and L.A.P.D. liaison Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen). While the operatives hunt the world for criminals, Eric Beale (Barrett Foa) and Nell Jones (Renee Felice Smith) are the home-base tech wizards who keep them posted on all international intel. In this 6-disc, 23-episode set, every mission keeps the team on its toes... and viewers on the edge of suspense. DVD Bonus Features: Six Exclusive Featurettes; Pa Make LDA ("Touch Of Death") Hawaii Five-O Crossover Episode; Audio Commentary With Daniela Ruah & Eric Christian Olsen (on One Episode) and Deleted Scenes. ON THE NET: For clips, trailers, schedules, episode guides and more, visit the Official CBS Site @ www.cbs.com/primetime/ncis_los_angelesSeason 4 of NCIS: Los Angeles airs Tuesday, September 25th 9pmE/8pmC, following the season opener of NCIS. (Check local listings)
Mike & Molly: The Complete Second Season
Wedding bells are ringing for one of TV's favorite couples in the second season of the smash-hit comedy Mike & Molly. One of television's funniest and most endearing love stories continues to unfold over the course of 23 laugh-out-loud episodes featured on this must-own set. Starring Bridesmaids' hilarious breakout star, Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winner Melissa McCarthy (Gilmore Girls, Samantha Who?) and comedic actor Billy Gardell (My Name Is Earl), Mike & Molly follows the lives of a working class Chicago couple who embark upon a romance after finding love in the most unlikely of places. Mike & Molly: The Complete Second Season is filled with nonstop laughs as this lovable couple moves into the next phase of their relationship. At the end of Season One, Mike popped the question, and in Season Two, Molly's in a tizzy over the wedding plans! Not surprisingly, Mike doesn't "get it" -- after all, he once pulled together an entire Super Bowl party in just four hours -- so he can't understand why planning a wedding is such a challenge. His-and-her versions of wedding planning woes are at the heart of Season Two of Mike & Molly -- including all the laughs, love and lighthearted comedy that lead up to the Big Day. In addition to McCarthy and Gardell, Mike & Molly's talented cast includes Reno Wilson (Crank), Katy Mixon (Eastbound & Down), Nyambi Nyambi (Law & Order), Louis Mustillo (City Island), Cleo King (The Hangover), Rondi Reed (You Don’t Know Jack) and Swoosie Kurtz (Pushing Daisies, Sisters). DVD Bonus Features: "Mike & Molly's Wedding" -- this featurette takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the second season's climactic finale: Mike & Molly's wedding! Through interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, fans will get a sense of what it took to create one of the funniest weddings of the year -- and a Gag Reel. ON THE NET: Watch videos, browse photos and join the ultimate fan community for Mike & Mollyat the Official CBS Site @ www.cbs.com/shows/mike_and_molly/ Season 3 of Mike & Molly's hilarious antics continues on Monday, September 24 at 9:30pmE/8:30pmC.
House, M.D.: Season 8 -- The Final Season
Two-time Golden Globe-winner Hugh Laurie is back one last time as TV's favorite misanthrope Dr. Gregory House in the hit series' eighth and final season. When House returns to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital after an unconventional release from his prison sentence, he finds himself under a surprising new chain of command and dealing with personnel changes to his staff. Together, House and his new team take on the most baffling medical cases yet and face challenges of both the mind and heart as this television phenomenon comes to a close with these final 22 gripping episodes from this beloved and brilliant show. In addition to multi-Emmy-winning actor, the ensemble cast of the David Shore-created House, M.D. also includes Robert Sean Leonard, Jesse Spencer and Omar Epps. Blu-ray/DVD Bonus Features: "House, M.D. Swan Song: A Look Back At The Groundbreaking Television Phenomenon"; "The Doctor Directs: Behind The Scenes With Hugh Laurie" -- join Hugh Laurie on the set of House for an exclusive look at the making of a landmark episode; and "Everybody Dies: A Postmortem - The Cast And Crew Of House Reflect On The Series' Finale." ON THE NET: For photos, episodes, wallpaper, community chats and a whole bunch of extras, head to the Official Fox Site for House, M.D. @ www.fox.com/house/
Discover the jaw-dropping prehistoric world of the most terrifying reptiles with the North American premiere of Planet Dinosaur. The mysteries of the dinosaurs continue to be unearthed every day -- more dinosaur discoveries have been made in the past two decades than in the past two centuries. Planet Dinosaur introduces us to this whole new cast of monsters far stranger than you ever imagined. From predators larger than the Tyrannosaurus Rex to feathered dinosaurs, these new creatures not only revolutionize our understanding of prehistoric life but of life on Earth today. Transporting viewers to locations across the planet and back through hundreds of millions of years, Planet Dinosaur brings to life the most amazing, surprising and strange prehistoric creatures that ever lived. Narrated by John Hurt (the Harry Potter films, The Elephant Man), this groundbreaking series uses the latest CGI and cutting-edge research to reveal the secrets of these newly discovered giants, weaving a dramatic story of survival laced with scientific developments. This is unlike any dinosaur show you’ve ever seen -- a completely immersive visual experience studded with curious facts, jaw-dropping action and charismatic monsters whose discovery entailed a re-write of the prehistory books. DVD Bonus Features: "How to Build a Dinosaur" -- an hour-long making-of special. ON THE NET: Head to England's BBC One's Official Site @ www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b014m55k * To view the official trailer, go to YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCMkV_GYf4w where you can also view other clips from Planet Dinosaur.
Revenge: The Complete First Season
Beneath the luxurious lifestyle of the Hamptons lies a dark, dirty secret and a twisted tale of passion, suspense and ultimate redemption. In the Hamptons, wealth, beauty and power define most of the residents of New York's most exclusive community. Among the elegant homes of the elite, a single, beautiful and mysterious young woman secretly arrives. And, this seemingly sweet and gorgeous new resident is hell-bent on exacting revenge on those who destroyed her father's reputation and life. Actress Emily VanCamp portrays the vengeful Emily Thorne -- who devises a fiercely vindictive plot against Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), the reigning queen of the Hamptons, and everyone else who had a hand in ruining her family. But, even the best-laid plans can unravel when an unexpected love triangle between Emily, the son of her arch-enemy and an old face from her dark past are brought together. Experience all 22 episodes of the sensational new series which features an all-star cast that also includes Amber Valletta, Margarita Levieva, Emily Alyn Lind, Christa B. Allen, Ashley Madekwe, Nick Wechsler, Gabriel Mann, Henry Czerny, Ashton Holmes, James Tupper and Joshua Bowman. DVD Bonus Features: "Nolan Ross Exposed"; "Roadmap to Revenge"; "At Home in The Hamptons" - Take a V.I.P. Tour of "the Hamptons" with Ashley Madekwe; "Haute Hamptons: Femme Fatale Fashion"; Bloopers; Deleted Scenes; Music Videos for "Distance" by Christina Perry and "For You" by Angus & Julie Stone and Pilot Commentary with creator Mike Kelley and series star Emily VanCamp. ON THE NET: For recaps, video, bios, Revenge Chat, About The Show, photos, "Blackmail - Recap: Chaos" and "Sweet On Revenge" go the Official ABC Site for Revenge @ http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/revengeSeason Two of Revenge premieres on Sunday, September 30, 2012 9pmE/8pmC (Check local listings)
Disneynature’s most unforgettable and heartwarming adventure yet, Chimpanzee, is an inspiring film that follows the true-fife adventure of Oscar, a young chimpanzee whose curiosity and zest for life showcase the intelligence and ingenuity of some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. Journey deep into the African rainforest and meet Oscar, an adorable young chimp with an entertaining approach to life. The world is a playground for little Oscar and his fellow young chimps who love creating mayhem. Full of curiosity, joy and a love for mimicking others, they are some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. Stunning high-definition images bring you up close and personal as Oscar and his family navigate the complex territory of the forest. It's an inspiring and life-changing adventure that overflows with courage and charm. And it will capture your heart. To celebrate the in-home debut of Chimpanzee, Disneynature is proud to continue the “See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzees” conservation program initiated with the film’s theatrical release. For every purchase of the movie through August 27, 2012, Disneynature will make a donation through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to conserve chimpanzee habitat, educate the next generation, and provide care for orphaned chimpanzees. The conservation program, tied to the theatrical release, will help protect 129,236 acres (202 square miles) of wild chimpanzee habitat through infrastructure investments in the expanded Tchimpounga Nature Reserve in the Republic of Congo (Congo); educate 60,000 schoolchildren about chimpanzee conservation and provide food and medicine for nearly all of the orphaned chimpanzees at JGI’s Tchimpounga chimpanzee sanctuary for at least the next year. Blu-ray Bonus Features: In-depth behind-the-scenes footage showcasing the filmmakers’ amazing efforts to document the making of the film; a music video for the song “Rise,” written and performed by McClain Sisters; a feature on Disney’s conservation legacy and much more.
The brotherhood between cops is sacred, but it’s not stronger than the bond between a father and son, especially when it’s a matter of justice. From a producer of 16 Blocks and Righteous Kill comes the action packed police thriller, Freelancers. Multi-platinum recording artist and rising Hollywood film star Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (Get Rich or Die Tryin’) adds to his growing resume as an actor with his portrayal of Malo, the son of a slain NYPD officer who joins the force only to discover the villainous story behind his father’s death. He falls in with his father’s former partner and a team of rogue "Gotham cops." His new boss, Sarcone (Robert De Niro), will see if he has what it takes to be rogue through many trials and tribulations of loyalty, trust and respect. However, when the truth about his father’s death is revealed, revenge takes over and he won’t stop until justice has been truly served. Jackson and two-time Academy Award-winner Robert De Niro (Raging Bull, The Godfather Part II) are surrounded by an all-star supporting cast that also includes Dana Delaney (China Beach) and Best Actor-winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), who heads up the band of rogue New York City cops that recruit Jackson and his partners into their corrupt ranks. Blu-ray/DVD Bonus Features: Audio commentary with Director Jessy Terrero and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson; Behind-the-Scenes Interviews with Director Jessy Terrero, Producer Randall Emmett, writer L. Philippe Casseus and actors Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Forest Whitaker, Beau Garrett, Malcolm Goodwin, Ryan O’Nan and Anabelle Acosta and Extended Interviews with Director Jessy Terrero, Producer Randall Emmett, writer L. Philippe Casseus and actors Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Forest Whitaker, Beau Garrett, Malcolm Goodwin, Ryan O’Nan and Anabelle Acosta. ON THE NET: To see the trailer, clips, interviews and more, head to www.reelz.com/movie/296135/freelancers/
Offering an absorbing look at the future of urbanization and human habitation, Megacities was filmed on location in five of the world’s largest cities in everything from sleek high-rises to swarming slums. Hosted by BAFTA-winning journalist Andrew Marr, Megacities explores how these metropolitan hubs define every aspect of their inhabitants’ daily lives. Sprawling, noisy, and often downright dangerous, the world’s megacities buzz with energy and innovation. Today, there are more than 20 metropolises with over 10 million inhabitants. Some of them are sleek, modern, and high-tech; others filled with slums and blighted by poverty; all of them fragile places constantly on the edge. Together they are the greatest shift in human civilization since the birth of agriculture—and man’s biggest and most dangerous social experiment yet. BBC journalist Andrew Marr visits five megacities: one of the oldest (London, United Kingdom), the fastest growing (Dhaka, Bangladesh), the largest (Tokyo, Japan), among the most hazardous (Mexico City, Mexico), and one that considers itself the new world capital (Shanghai, China). Marr discovers how the cities’ structures define their inhabitants’ daily lives, and how these great urban centers represent the human future of the planet. DVD Bonus Features: 12-page viewer’s guide with a timeline and articles on the growth of a megacity, the first cities, the made-to-order cit and more; Biography of Andrew Marr, plus the most "livable" cities. ON THE NET: For more on Megacities and for discussion questions, head to www.AthenaLearning.com
Crisis At The CastleCrisis At The Castle is a behind-the-tapestry peek at the realities of castle ownership. Shot on location, the series follows the owners of the magnificent Sudley Castle, Burton Court and Kelburn Castle as they are faced with pivotal decisions about how to preserve the family home in the face of rising costs, fading public attention and crumbling infrastructures. These historic houses have stood for centuries. But will they survive the next generation? The owners of the three magnificent examples of British architecture—Sudeley Castle, Burton Court, and Kelburn Castle—are faced with this critical question. From small maintenance tasks that snowball into calamities to steadfast resistance from elders, watch as the sons and daughters of these ancestral homes take stewardship of their legacy, setting new plans in motion to preserve these houses for future generations. Bonus Features: 12-page viewer’s guide with a map and articles on historic preservation guidelines, gardens of the estates, and unconventional ways to save stately homes and "Stories of Stately Homes." ON THE NET: For more info on the DVD and to view discussion questions click to www.AthenaLearning.com
Perry Mason, Season 7, Volume 1
Take the stand for Season 7, Volume 1 of Perry Mason, one of television's most heralded attorneys. Raymond Burr returns as the brilliant defense lawyer, capable of filleting alleged eyewitnesses to murder with surgical precision through relentless and clever questioning. Aided by loyal detective Paul Drake (William Hopper) and devoted secretary Della Street (Barbara Hale), Mason takes on festive felons, decadent deans and badgered brothers, eliciting riveting confessions in 15 explosive episodes. Additional cast members include Ray Collins, Richard Anderson, William Talman, Wesley Lau, Dan Tobin, Lee Miller and Karl Held. This remastered four-disc collection also features a rare event in the history of the series: Perry's defeat at the hands of Hamilton Burger. Let the record show, this drama is guilty of excellence. ON THE NET: On CBS.com, you can catch full episodes Perry Mason, plus clips and behind-the-scenes footage @ www.cbs.com/classics/perry_mason/video/
The Complete History of the New York Giants
The New York Giants are coming off another one of the greatest playoff runs in NFL history that culminated in their fourth Super Bowl title. Now, fans of the team can learn about the football franchise with The Complete History of the New York Giants. This exciting program allows Big Blue fans to relive almost 90 years of Giants football. The Complete History of the New York Giants has been updated to include the organization’s last two thrilling Super Bowl victories over the New England Patriots. The Complete History of the New York Giants program is filled with unforgettable moments, Hall of Fame players and thrilling championship triumphs that are sure to bring a smile to the face of any Giants fan. Since 1925, the New York Giants have been one of the premiere franchises in the NFL. Their record speaks for itself – 22 division titles and eight world championships including four Super Bowl victories. This one-of-a-kind set contains more than two hours of new footage, starting with the team’s humble beginnings and continues through their thrilling win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI last year. When it comes to recognizable names that have played a role in the success of an organization the New York Giants are second to none with iconic players and coaches including Frank Gifford, Sam Huff, Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms, Bill Parcells, Michael Strahan, Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin. All of these and many more are highlighted on this must-own set for Giants fans! DVD Bonus Features: Greatest Games: 2007 NFC Championship; NFL's Game Of The Week: Giants vs. Cowboys, 1981; David Tyree and the Miracle Catch; Phil McConkey - Giants Spark Plug; Tom Coughlin - The Steve Sabol Interview; 2007 Giants Ring Ceremonies; Letters From Wellington; The Two Worlds of Brad Benson and General Managing The Giants
NOW AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY:
Spaceballs 25th Anniversary Edition
The laughs come out at super light speed in this 25th Anniversary Edition of Mel Brooks' outrageous sci-fi spoof that takes you to a galaxy far, far funnier than you ever imagined. Written and directed by Mel Brooks, Spaceballs is cosmic comedy at its finest! When ruthless President Skrobb (Brooks) plots to steal the air supply from neighboring planet Druida, it's up to hero-for-hire Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his man-dog sidekick Barf (John Candy) to rescue a spoiled Druish princess (Daphne Zuniga) from the clutches of Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis). Along the way, they meet the wise Yogurt (Brooks again!), who teaches them the mystical secrets of "The Schwartz"... and the almighty power of movie merchandising. This Mel Brooks cinematic classic also features appearances by Joan Rivers, Dick Van Patten and George Wyner. Blu-ray Bonus Features: "Force Yourself! Spaceballs and The Skroobing of Sci-Fi"; "Watch The Movie At Ludicrous Speed"; Audio Commentary by Mel Brooks; Additional Commentary Tracks in Mawgese and Dinkese; "Spaceballs: The Documentary"; "In Conversations: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan"; "John Candy: Comic Spirit"; Storyboard-to-Film Comparison; Film Flubs; 3 Spaceballs Galleries: Behind The Movie, The Costumes, The Art; Exhibitor Trailer with Mel Brooks Introduction and the Original Theatrical Trailer. ON THE NET: To view the original trailer, go to www.rottentomatoes.com/m/spaceballs * To see clips from Spaceballs, head to YouTube and type in "Spaceballs."
Good Will Hunting: 15th Anniversary Edition
One of the most unforgettable films of the 1990s celebrates its 15th anniversary in this special Anniversary Edition. The inspirational story of a headstrong, working-class genius and his psychologist took home two Academy Awards in 1997 – Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Robin Williams; Best Original Screenplay for co-stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck – and was nominated for seven others, including a Best Actor nod for Damon and a Best Supporting Actress nod for Minnie Driver. Launching the careers of Damon (The Bourne Identity, Ocean’s Eleven) and Affleck (Shakespeare In Love, The Town), who co-wrote and starred in the film. Good Will Hunting also stars Stellan Skarsgård (The Avengers) and Casey Affleck (Ocean’s Eleven) and was directed by Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant (Best Achievement in Directing, Milk, 2008). Blu-ray Bonus Features: All New: "Reflecting On A Journey: Good Will Hunting 15 Years Later" – A four part featurette showcasing never-before-seen retrospective interviews with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Gus Van Sant, Chris Moore and Kevin Smith as they remember the making of the film and its success; Audio Commentary and Deleted Scenes. ON THE NET: Memorize memorable quotes from Good Will Hunting @ www.imdb.com/title/tt0119217/quotes * For trailers, bios, cast info and more, click to http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/good-will-hunting * For clips from the film, go to YouTube and type in "Good Will Hunting."
The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary 2-Movie Edition
To commemorate the 35th anniversary of an original classic, Disney has put together a special 2-movie collection featuring the all-time family favorites -- The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under -- in high definition. Bernard and Bianca, two of the most courageous and adventurous mice on the planet, set out on two thrilling rescue missions filled with comic adventure -- as they soar through the Devil's Bayou and flying sky-high in the Australian outback. Get ready for one of the most exciting animated adventures as these tiny, big-hearted heroes outrun and outwit their rivals to save the day. Brimming with lovable characters and unforgettable music, this 2-movie collection is high-flying fun for the entire family! The Wolfgang Reitherman-directed The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under feature the voices of John McIntire, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page, Pat Buttram, Michelle Stacy, Bob Newhart, Joe Flynn, Dub Taylor, Larry Clemmons, John Fielder and Bernard Fox. Blu-ray Bonus Features: The Deleted song "Peoplitis"; "The Three Blind Mouseketeers Silly Symphony" Animated Short; "Water Birds: Disney True-life Adventures"; the Sing Along Song "Someone's Waiting For You" and the featurette "The Making Of Rescuers Down Under." ON THE NET: To view clips from The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under, head to YouTube and type in "The Rescuers."
Everybody wants to be a cat! Disney's unforgettable classic The Aristocats swings like never before in high definition. Share all the heart, humor and irresistible music with your family in this jazzy Special Edition 2-Disc Combo Pack. A Disney animated classic, The Aristocats (directed by Wolfgang Reitherman) is set in the City of Love -- Paris, where a sweet yet wildly eccentric millionairess wills her entire estate and huge fortune to her diva-like cat Duchess and her three kittens. However, when the estates’ scheming, greedy, and blundering butler tries to construct the ultimate catnap caper, the tough-as-nails alley cat Thomas O'Malley -- along with his groovy band of swingin' jazz cats -- turns up to help save the day. It's the purr-fect blend of comedy and adventure. This timeless treasure -- featuring the voices of Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway, Pat Buttram, Nancy Kulp, Monica Evans, Scatman Crothers, Phil Harris, Vito Scotti, Paul Winchell and Tim Hudson -- boasts remarkable picture and sound quality -- it's the cat's pajamas in high def. Blu-ray Bonus Features: “The Lost Open“; the Music Video for "Oui Oui Marie"; the Deleted Song of the Classic Song "She Never Felt Alone"; “The Sherman Brothers: The Aristocats Of Disney Songs”; “The Great Cat Family” (Excerpt); Classic Bonus Short: “Bath Day”; Play Movie With On-Screen Lyrics; Disney “Virtual Kitten:” Adopt Your Own Virtual Kitty. The More You Care For It, The More Hearts You Earn; Virtual Kitten DVD Rom; “The Aristocats Fun With Language Game” and “The Aristocats Scrapbook.” ON THE NET: To see clips from the film, surf to YouTube and type in "The Aristocats" and hit search.