The Download: Ice Bucket Challenge, Weaver Passed on 'The ExpandaBelles,' and Yates Directing 'Fantastic Beasts'

Sin City

The Ice Bucket Challenge comes to The Download! Sadly, none of us took the challenge. We talk about that and more on this week's edition.

Binh: Ice water, ice water everywhere this week. Seems like everyone is doing that Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research. For those who don't know, ALS is a neurodegenerative disease where the motor neurons die, leading to paralysis and, in some cases, death. So, have any of you been challenged or have challenged someone to this?

Jeff: I've been challenged, but because I'm a party pooper, I just donated instead of pouring water on myself.

Sara: But the point of the challenge is to get people to donate. You did the right thing!

Binh: Making this all about themselves while getting their money, it's genius.

Sara: I hope it works like gangbusters. I think smart marketing like this is really inspiring!

Binh: It is, but you know who's being inspired right now? I can see some marketing people making plans to promote their movies in a similar manner.

Jeff: "Take the Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Eva Green Boob Challenge or donate $100 to breast cancer research!"

Binh: Oh my! I was thinking horror movies, but that could work too. Well, goes to show how limited my imagination is.

Sara: Wait -- how do you use horror movies for cancer research? Every ticket for Biopsy Nightmare goes to....Susan G Komens?

Jeff: *spits water all over screen*

Sara: I get all wrapped around the axel when movies and life saving research share...it's back to that old joke about Spielberg's disappointed mom saying "Congratulations on the Oscar but it's not like you're saving lives in Africa."

Jeff: That reminds me of an unrelated Robin Williams story -- I guess he called Spielberg to cheer him up while he was working on Schindler's List, pretending to be a telemarketer raising funds for the "Valdheimers Association," "a society devoted to helping raise money to help older Germans who had forgotten everything before 1945."

Sara: Is it amazing how powerful a joke can be?! That Robin Williams seemed like such a lovable SOB. I had a friend who said he had an ancient 110 camera photo of Williams from the last 70s, performing on Fisherman's Wharf on a plastic utility bucket. Life's a mystery.

Binh: I like to think artists are more adventurous when they're still in that "struggling" phase.

I know you're not a fan of seeing Sigourney Weaver in The Expendables spinoff, Jeff. Well, good news. She's not going to be in The ExpendaBelles. I like to think the reason she passed on it is because she has the foresight to know it's going to be a stinker and not because of some scheduling conflict.

Jeff: I'd like to think so too. I'd also like to think that at some point, a screenwriter with a brain above the belt will sit down and write a real script for this project -- there's a significant amount of potential being piddled away on that offensive excuse for a story.

Sara: I also like to think she can still choose her parts. I'll never forget Ed Asner saying at the UP press conference that past a certain age you no longer get to choose.

Women who started in action/stunts/wrestling are doing neat things. I love Lucy Lawless in Parks and Rec, and people like Zoe Bell have tapped into entire VOD empires of lady action morgues. OMG! Spellcheck! I meant "movies." (Phew! Paging Dr. Freud!) but re older women:: I want to see them in more like everyone else but I imagine Sigourney Weaver is likely fed up with people trying to get to battle people in alien suits. They can't squander this opportunity in crap that could injure their careers. Did you guys see that Lake Bell comedy In A Word? The end of the film had done painfully sage truth telling from Gina Davis -- exposure and exploitation are uneasy bedfellows.

Binh: Can't say I've seen it, Sara. Unfortunately, most of the good roles for women, especially for older women, are on TV. Theaters are still dominated by people who wants to see young, pretty things.

Sara: Well, REDS did ok, too. I mean, ExpendaBelles is just trying to cash in on a market they're sure exists. The big problem is that they also think the market has to include--like you said--teenage boys, which is officially not the market they originally set out to validate. I think the real question is how many times are they going to go on this carousel ride.

Binh: REDS is anchored by Bruce Willis, and old men could still be seen as an action hero. Old women? Not so much. As you can see, the third Expendables bombed, so it looks like that may be it for the series.

Regarding The ExpendaBelles, they're taking it too literally that a girl and a gun is all you'll need to make a movie. If there is a story that doesn't need to be told, this is it. A movie about female empowerment but made for teenage boys? Yeah, that's going to work.

Jeff: Exactly. Whereas I'd be willing to bet that if someone found a sensible way to get Weaver out in front of a badass action troupe whose members just happened to include, say, Cynthia Rothrock or Lucy Lawless or Gina Carano, it'd be a lot of fun.

Binh: You mean like The Expendables but with with female leads?

Jeff: Ha ha ha!

Binh: You think it would be as simple as that. Moving on, it looks like the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development Team has found their director for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Word is, David Yates is returning to the Harry Potter universe and will direct the first installment.

Jeff: That's a good sign for Warners, and I hope they're paying him well. I wonder if he dreamed of being a franchise custodian when he went to film school?

Binh: I'm sure he'll be well taken care of by the studio. After all, they only work with people they know and have trust in. I don't think any director starting out want to be the custodian of any franchise they didn't create.

Sara: Of course! Everyone goes to expensive, niche trade programs to be called "custodians."

Binh: I'm sure some don't mind that at all. The pay is too good.

Jeff: You can't argue with the pay, but steering those big ships must get tiring after awhile. Joss Whedon is tapping out after the Avengers sequel, right?

Binh: Certainly! Those who have options, like Whedon, can tap out. The others, they have to keep going. Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for joining us.

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