Empire Summer 2020

NEWS! Empire brings you world-exclusive movie news and first-look pictures of the films you want to watch and care about. REVIEWS! Empire delivers the most independent and authoritative movie reviews in the world - period. ACCESS! Empire's incredible insider-access brings you the interviews with A-list Hollywood stars that no-one else can get. All served with an irreverent sense of humour and unparalleled movie knowledge...

United Kingdom
12 期号


this month

DURING THIS TIME of uncertainty, my mind recently wandered back to Reign Of Fire, the 2002 film in which Christian Bale, Gerard Butler and Matthew McConaughey battle dragons. It’s not particularly memorable, despite McConaughey having the superlative character name Denton Van Zan. But it does feature one scene that’s weirdly apt for our current global situation. In the film’s post-apocalyptic UK, multiplexes have been destroyed by dragon-breath along with everything else, yet two of our heroes carry on the art form on their own, re-enacting a lightsaber duel from The Empire Strikes Back as a bedtime story for kids. The message is clear: cinema will never die. And so, while we all await the return of big screens, blockbusters and boxes of popcorn, it’s a good time to celebrate the myriad…

talk to us

THE EMPIRESHALLNOTFALL Suffering from anxiety, I was worried what the pandemic would mean for Empire if there were no films coming out or being made. Then my subscribers’ edition landed and I realised I need not be concerned. It’s still the same magazine for film lovers, put together by film lovers. In an uncertain world, we need escapism now more than ever. Well done. NEIL RENTON, EDINBURGH Rest assured, as long as there are films — and we can still make the magazine from under our duvets — there’ll be Empire to keep you company, good times and bad. In the meantime, Neil, have a Picturehouse membership on us, ready for when the lockdown ends. Picture house Empire’s star letter wins a Picturehouse Membership, plus one for a friend! Valid for one year at 23…

no./1 spice, sandworms and game-changing sci-fi

SOME BOOKS STICK with you. That’s how it was for Denis Villeneuve, director of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, when he read Frank Herbert’s Dune. The young Quebecois read the novel — devoured it, really — when he was “maybe 13 or 14” and was instantly captivated by its epic scope, intricately crafted civilisation and Machiavellian plot. But most of all he connected to its young hero, not much older than Villeneuve himself at the time, and that connection lingered. So when he was asked what he would adapt for the screen if money were no object, “My answer was definitely Dune.” That meant recreating the harsh desert planet of Arrakis, nicknamed ‘Dune’, where our hero Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his parents, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica…

no./2 the teen drama giving a voice to the voiceless

THE CONCEPT In 2012, while editing my first feature, It Felt Like Love, I came across a newspaper story that left me devastated. It was about Savita Halappanavar, a woman in Ireland who died after being denied a life-saving abortion. I read up on the Eighth Amendment in Ireland and was compelled by the dilemma that women who needed an abortion were forced to travel to London and back to get one — often in a single day. In that narrative, I saw a hero’s journey, shrouded in shame, secrecy and tremendous urgency. I wondered what that journey would look like in the United States, and the idea began to form about a teenager in rural Pennsylvania, secretly travelling to New York to abort a pregnancy. I put it aside to…

no./3 this film will send you to sleep

MAX RICHTER IS a good sleeper. “It’s true,” the prolific composer admits, “I sleep really well. But I’m keenly aware of how rare that is these days. Most people have trouble with sleep. We’re all a bit overloaded and wired all the time. And I think it’s become worse over the last few years, with smartphones and all the rest of it. That, I suppose, was the catalyst for writing Sleep.” Sleep, as its simple literal title hints, is an eight-and-a-half-hour piece of minimalist classical music that Richter (also known for his film scores for the likes of Ad Astra and Mary Queen Of Scots) released in 2015, designed to be played as the listener tucks themselves up in bed, with each movement reflecting the functions of the brain as it…

no./4 “i think every human being should move a ship over a mountain at least once”

THE PHRASE “TRUTH is stranger than fiction” has never held truer than when applied to the work of Werner Herzog. The 77-year-old Bavarian filmmaker is renowned for tales of behind-the-scenes madness (he once dragged a steamboat over a Peruvian mountain for Fitzcarraldo) and unusual subject matter (Grizzly Man is a documentary about a man who was eaten by a bear). His latest film, Family Romance, LLC, offers a fictional spin on a real, odd phenomenon: a Japanese company which hires out actors as friends and family members. But Herzog denies there’s anything strange about his work. “All my films are mainstream,” he insists. How did you find out about this Japanese company that hires out ersatz family members, and why did it hook you? I heard about it through Roc Morin, a…