Lupita Won't Comment; Halloween Ends Defended; a Terrible Ad Astra Mistake

Lupita Nyong’o gracefully declines to answer a very big Black Panther question; the director of Halloween Ends explains his surprising approach; what Armageddon Time director James Gray learned from a “terrible mistake” on Ad Astra; Ralph Macchio keeps breaking news.

But First: Congratulations to all of the winners of the Heartland International Film Festival, including the docs Hidden Letters and Wildcat and the narrative feature Our Father, the Devil. We love Heartland.

Mucho Macchio: If you, like me, really enjoy Ralph Macchio and the whole Karate Kid and Cobra Kai extended universe, you’ve probably really enjoyed Macchio’s publicity blitz this week for this terrific new memoir called, of course, Waxing On. Among the things he’s discussed are a proposed Rocky-Karate Kid crossover, his Elisabeth Shue regrets, how Creed begat Cobra Kai, and what the next Karate Kid film might be about.

David Gordon Green on Killing Your Expectations: The director of the divisive Halloween Ends tells us he had no intention of giving us what we all wanted from the third film in his trilogy — “a final showdown-type brawl” between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). He also tells interviewer extraordinaire Joshua Encinias about his homages to John Carpenter, and that The Exorcist director William Friedkin won’t be involved in Green’s new Exorcist trilogy. This interview is also how I learned the weird, grim fact that Green attended the high school that tragically inspired Pearl Jam’s song “Jeremy.”

Great Flops: Variety has compiled a list of great films that disappointed at the box office, and while not everyone will agree with the writer’s definition of “great,” it’s a very thoughtful list.

Ad Astra: One of the films on the list is the Brad Pitt space drama Ad Astra, which director James Gray tells us is not the movie he set out to make. In fact, his experience on the 2019 film inspired him to never again surrender final cut during editing, because doing so on Ad Astra was “a terrible mistake.” His new film, Armageddon Time, may be my favorite movie of 2022. Gray had final cut. We’ll have much more on Armageddon Time leading up to its October 28th release.

Lupita Nyong’o: The Hollywood Reporter has a very good interview with the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever actress, in which she talks about mourning Chadwick Boseman, and is asked point-blank if she’s taking his place as the new Black Panther.  “If I told you that, I might as well just … swim into the ocean and never be seen again,” she says. (I hope she’s the new Black Panther, though.)

The Coolest Place to Have Your Seven Bar Mitzvahs: Is an abandoned mall in Pittsburgh. Cooper Raiff, writer-director-star of the terrific Cha Cha Real Smooth, spoke at a recent Santa Barbara Film Festival Cinema Society event about how he shot his film about a Bar Mitzvah party-starer at an unlikely location to save money. He says at one point, cinematographer Cristina Dunlap was so underwhelmed by a location that she asked him, “Should we try to get more? Should we fundraise?”

Okay But: Whatever you say about its abandoned malls, Pittsburgh is great. I used to live there and wouldn’t mind someday moving back. It’s consistently on our list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker, and it was good enough for Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises. 

Pearl Jam: I know that we usually end on a video, and we could pull things together nicely with Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” but I’ve honestly never liked that song. Would you accept the executive producer of Pearl?

Main image: Lupita Nyong’o in a Black Panther character poster.