Soldiers of Fortune: Triple Frontier cast and producer in Singapore

SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE: TRIPLE FRONTIER CAST AND PRODUCER IN SINGAPORE

Stars Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund and producer Chuck Roven talk Netflix’s paramilitary action thriller

Jedd Jong

Netflix is bringing a rumble in the jungle into audiences’ living rooms with Triple Frontier, and the film’s stars and producer trekked from the deepest forests of South America to Singapore to promote the film. Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and producer Chuck Roven met fans at Marina Bay Sands and fielded questions from the press the next day.

The film centres on five men, Tom “Redfly” Davis (Ben Affleck), Santiago “Pope” Garcia (Oscar Isaac), William “Ironhead” Miller (Charlie Hunnam), his brother Ben Miller (Garrett Hedlund) and Francisco “Catfish” Morales (Pedro Pascal). The ex-top tier military operatives, feeling frustrated that they have reaped nothing from their service, reunite for a mission. This time, they’re doing it for themselves. The men embark on a daring heist in the remote tri-border zone along the border of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil (hence the title), planning to rob a drug kingpin and keep the spoils for themselves. Despite the years of combat experience between them, unforeseen circumstances endanger the risky undertaking, leaving the men battling for their lives in unforgiving climes.

Triple Frontier is directed by J.C. Chandor and co-written by Chandor and Mark Boal. Chandor’s credits include All Is Lost and A Most Violent Year, and Boal is a former journalist who also wrote The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Kathryn Bigelow, who directed the two latter films, was originally attached to Triple Frontier. Tom Hanks and Johnny Depp were initially announced as being in talks to join the film, with Channing Tatum, Tom Hardy and Mahershala Ali later attached. The film was originally set up at Paramount, before moving to Netflix. “It was quite a trek of its own getting it made,” Roven quipped.

From the get-go, Triple Frontier was gruelling for those both in front of and behind the camera. The film was shot on location in Oahu, Hawaii, Mammoth Mountain, California, and Bogota, Colombia. “So much of the movie was done very real, not on a soundstage, not with a lot of visual effects,” Roven said. Roven has produced films including the Dark Knight trilogy, Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman and American Hustle. “In addition, the elements were not always very kind to us,” Roven added, citing “historic rain” during the shoot in Hawaii. “We were sloshing around in mud and mudslides, and a lot of times it took us a long time to get to work. Once we were at work, we were in flood conditions and things like that,” he recalled, remarking “The movie is exciting to watch, but it was also exciting to make.”

The actors spoke about the preparation they undertook for the film, which included training with three former Navy SEALs and a former Delta Force operative in California’s Simi Valley. Charlie Hunnam spoke about how the actors were flung into the thick of things, saying “We didn’t know each other, I hadn’t met Ben before, or Pedro or Oscar, and within 30 minutes of meeting each other we were standing doing live fire exercises.”

Hunnam said that using live rounds helped the actors focus on their task and reminded them that it wasn’t a game. “The thing you hear time and time again from these soldiers is that at a moment’s notice, they’re willing to lay down their life for their brother and vice versa,” Hunnam shared.

Hunnam and Hedlund have been friends for 15 years, and because the actors have a passing physical resemblance, it was written into the script that their characters are brothers. Hedlund’s character Ben becomes an MMA fighter after retiring from active duty. Hunnam helped Hedlund prepare for the role by taking Hedlund to a gym called The Academy in Beverly Hills, which is run by Rigan Machado, known as one of the top competitors in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu history. Machado’s other
celebrity students include Vin Diesel, Ashton Kutcher and Chuck Norris. “I choked [Hedlund] out a little bit and showed him what it was about,” Hunnam quipped.

Hedlund is no stranger to the military, having played a soldier in six of his last eight films and having relatives who served. “My grandfather was stationed in the Philippines as an MP and never spoke of the war when he came back. My other grandfather was stationed in Germany with Elvis,” Hedlund revealed. “When I was a kid growing up on a farm, my father would walk me down the gravel road marching in cadence, because that’s what he was used to,” Hedlund continued.

He took the responsibility of playing a soldier seriously, saying “You always…give the utmost respect to the men you’re playing and never disrespect the uniform.” Hedlund stressed that the actors were careful in not rendering their ex-military characters as caricatures, saying “Everybody was very legit; we wanted the realism to stand out.”

Affleck said that meeting and working with the film’s military advisors dispelled him of some preconceived notions. “One of the misconceptions I had going into it was that they were going to be these real superhero military guys, they were going to be very aggressive and hierarchical and kind of drill sergeant bullies or something,” Affleck remarked. “Instead, they were the kindest, most open, humble [people] who taught us about…inter-reliance among each other as the most important thing.”

While it can seem that on a movie packed with stars one might want to jostle the other out of the spotlight, teamwork was key in accurately reflecting how a real-life Special Forces unit operates. “The thing they felt was most important to get across was that we would all move as one unit, one team together, rather than being about one person standing out and being the hero,” Affleck said. “I thought it was beautiful, we definitely took that to heart, and we tried to come together and make it work the way they trained us to do it.”

Affleck was conscious of the “vast delta” between his own lived experiences and those of military combat veterans. “It was a profoundly humbling experience to be around these men and understand the true nature of sacrifice and commitment and duty really was,” Affleck shared. While the film is testosterone-fuelled, making the movie was not about men trying to out-posture each other. “There really wasn’t a tremendous emphasis on hierarchy and being ‘alpha’ and being tougher than the other people,” Affleck said, adding that the film’s military advisors “educated me to understand that true strength came in compassion, in empathy and in teamwork, and I found that to be the lesson I took away from this movie.”

The actors’ preparation for the film was not just physical, but psychological as well. Hunnam’s research included reading the books War and Tribe by journalist Sebastian Junger, who was embedded with troops in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. Junger continued to follow the soldiers after they returned from the war, observing how they adapted back to civilian life. Hunnam also watched Junger’s documentary films Restrepo and Korengal, which were made with photojournalist Tim Hetherington.  “He does a really incredible analysis of not only the psychological interplay of soldiers in war, but also the difficulty of coming home and reintegrating into civilian society, and the enormous loss that they generally feel,” Hunnam said of Junger.

Hunnam spoke of a specific example when one of the film’s military advisors stepped in to lend their expertise. “There’s a moment when I sustain an injury and of course in true Hollywood dynamic, was over-acting the moment,” Hunnam admitted. He said the military advisor “came over and gave me a couple of experiences where he himself had sustained massive injuries, and said ‘this is just a reality, you need to hold it together.’ It was amazing to get those kinds of insights in real time and make sure we were handling the situations correctly.”

On the surface, Triple Frontier might look like a typical action movie, but Roven assured the crowd that the film has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. “It is a genre that certainly others have done before, but in this particular situation and this particular script, where you think the movie is going, it doesn’t go there. It takes that genre and, in many ways, turns it on its head,” he declared.

Triple Frontier begins streaming on Netflix on March 13.

STGCC 2016: Mega Picture Post Days 1 & 2

As is the annual tradition, here is my mega picture post from the Singapore Toy, Games and Comics Convention. This year, STGCC was held on the 10th and 11th September at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. I will be the first to admit that I found this year a little underwhelming compared to last year, and part of it might have to do with the fact that the event was held in the hall in the basement and not the first floor. It’s all enclosed so it shouldn’t matter anyway, but I guess you could feel it. Honestly, I couldn’t get overly excited for the special guests, but I certainly enjoyed interviewing them. I also had fun hanging out with my cosplayer friends and taking in the booth displays. I joined in a group of friends who were cosplaying members from the Teen Titans as a zero-effort Superboy. I’m not a cosplayer, but it was fun kinda sorta pretending I was for that moment. Enjoy!

 

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STGCC Hot Toys Batman v Superman display

STGCC 2016 Star Wars The Force Awakens Hot Toys display

STGCC 2016 Star Wars The Force Awakens Hot Toys display

STGCC 2016 Star Wars The Force Awakens Hot Toys display 2

STGCC 2016 Star Wars The Force Awakens Hot Toys display 2

STGCC 2016 Star Wars The Force Awakens Rey Speeder Hot Toys display

STGCC 2016 Star Wars The Force Awakens Rey Speeder Hot Toys display

STGCC 2016 Star Wars The Force Awakens Riot Trooper FN-2199 Hot Toys display

STGCC 2016 Star Wars The Force Awakens Riot Trooper FN-2199 Hot Toys display

STGCC 2016 Star Wars villains Hot Toys display

STGCC 2016 Star Wars villains Hot Toys display

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Star Wars The Force Awakens Luke Skywalker figure

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Star Wars The Force Awakens Luke Skywalker figure

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Star Wars The Force Awakens Resistance Rey figure

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Star Wars The Force Awakens Resistance Rey figure

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Star Wars original trilogy figures display

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Star Wars original trilogy figures display

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama 1

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama 1

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama 2

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama 2

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama Captain America vs. Iron Man

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama Captain America vs. Iron Man

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama Hawkeye vs. Black Widow

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama Hawkeye vs. Black Widow

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama Winter Soldier vs. Black Panther

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Captain America: Civil War airport battle diorama Winter Soldier vs. Black Panther

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Back to the Future display

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Back to the Future display

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Alien Ellen Ripley figure

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Alien Ellen Ripley figure

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Netflix Daredevil figure

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Netflix Daredevil figure

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Deadpool movie figure

STGCC 2016 Hot Toys Deadpool movie figure

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Ghost Rider Statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Ghost Rider Statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Spider-Man villains

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Spider-Man villains

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Punisher on motorcycle statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Punisher on motorcycle statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Spider-Man and Mary Jane statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Spider-Man and Mary Jane statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Cable statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Cable statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Kingpin statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Kingpin statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Venom statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Venom statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Boba Fett statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Boba Fett statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue 1

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue 1

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue Bishop

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue Bishop

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue Psylocke

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue Psylocke

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue 2

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue 2

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue 3

STGCC 2016 XM Studios X-Men vs. Sentinel statue 3

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Namor statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Namor statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Witchblade statue 1

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Witchblade statue 1

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Witchblade Statue 2

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Witchblade Statue 2

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Samurai Batman unmasked statue 1

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Samurai Batman unmasked statue 1

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Samurai Batman unmasked statue closeup

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Samurai Batman unmasked statue closeup

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Samurai Batman Beyond statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Samurai Batman Beyond statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Catwoman on bike statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Catwoman on bike statue

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Catwoman on bike statue 2

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Catwoman on bike statue 2

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Catwoman on bike statue closeup

STGCC 2016 XM Studios Catwoman on bike statue closeup

STGCC 2016 XM Studios unpainted prototypes

STGCC 2016 XM Studios unpainted prototypes

Hulk Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. statue

Hulk Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. statue

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STGCC 2016: Artist Phil Noto

STGCC 2016: Black Canary cosplay

STGCC 2016: Black Canary cosplay

STGCC 2016: Arkham Asylum Joker cosplay (Alexander Jamesoun Tan)

STGCC 2016: Arkham Asylum Joker cosplay (Alexander Jameosoun Tan)

STGCC 2016: Arkham City Harley Quinn cosplay (Nyria Nox)

STGCC 2016: Arkham City Harley Quinn cosplay (Nyria Nox)

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STGCC 2016: Quicksilver Avengers: Age of Ultron cosplay

STGCC 2016: Quicksilver Avengers: Age of Ultron cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Hawkgirl cosplay (Niko)

STGCC 2016: Nightwing cosplay

STGCC 2016: Nightwing cosplay

STGCC 2016: Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde Zootopia cosplay

STGCC 2016: Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde Zootopia cosplay

STGCC 2016: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Orson Krennic cosplay

STGCC 2016: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Orson Krennic cosplay

STGCC 2016: Silk cosplay (Theresa)

STGCC 2016: Silk cosplay (Theresa)

STGCC 2016: Suicide Squad Joker and El Diablo cosplays

STGCC 2016: Suicide Squad Joker and El Diablo cosplays

STGCC 2016: Pocahontas cosplay

STGCC 2016: Pocahontas cosplay

STGCC 2016: Arkham Asylum Joker (Alexander Jamesoun Tan) and Arkham City Harley Quinn (Rina Carissime)

STGCC 2016: Arkham Asylum Joker (Alexander Jameosoun Tan) and Arkham City Harley Quinn (Rina Carissime)

STGCC 2016: Esmeralda cosplay (Belle)

STGCC 2016: Esmeralda cosplay (Belle)

STGCC 2016: Miranda Lawson cosplay (Cara)

STGCC 2016: Miranda Lawson cosplay (Cara)

STGCC 2016: Dr. Harleen Quinzel cosplay

STGCC 2016: Dr. Harleen Quinzel cosplay (Amaya)

STGCC 2016: Wolverine cosplay

STGCC 2016: Wolverine cosplay

STGCC 2016: Jessica Jones (Jenny) and Kilgrave (Frasier)

STGCC 2016: Jessica Jones (Jenny) and Kilgrave (Frasier)

STGCC 2016: Assassin's Creed Syndicate Evie Frye cosplay (Neptys)

STGCC 2016: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Evie Frye cosplay (Neptys)

STGCC 2016: Black Widow and Scarlet Witch cosplay

STGCC 2016: Black Widow and Scarlet Witch cosplay

STGCC 2016: Black Widow, Scarlet Witch and Jessica Jones cosplays

STGCC 2016: Black Widow, Scarlet Witch and Jessica Jones cosplays

STGCC 2016: Daenerys Targaryen cosplay (Theodora)

STGCC 2016: Daenerys Targaryen cosplay (Theodora)

STGCC 2016: Arkham Knight Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy cosplays

STGCC 2016: Arkham Knight Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy cosplays

STGCC Milo Thatch (Anne) and Kidakagash Nedakh (Caetuna) cosplays - Atlantis: The Lost Empire

STGCC Milo Thatch (Anne) and Kidakagash Nedakh (Caetuna) cosplays – Atlantis: The Lost Empire

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STGCC 2016: Vic as Psylocke with Shaun as Luke Skywalker

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STGCC 2016: Father and son Deathstroke cosplays

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STGCC 2016: Dust from the X-Men cosplay

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STGCC 2016 XM Studios Black Panther statue

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STGCC 2016 Star Wars Plastic model kits

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STGCC 2016 sculpture booth

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STGCC 2016 Deathstroke trio

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STGCC 2016 Deadshot cosplay 1

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STGCC 2016 Deadshot cosplay 2

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STGCC 2016 501st Legion Star Wars booth 1

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STGCC 2016 Star Wars booth 501st Legion 2

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STGCC 2016: my friend, toy photographer Sunny Ang (Zekezachzoom) and I

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STGCC 2016: XM Studios Samurai Batman statues

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STGCC 2016: Kylo Ren cosplayers (Kylin and Ria)

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STGCC 2016: Star Wars Revenge of the Sith Anakin Skywalker cosplay (Alexander Jameosoun Tan)

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STGCC 2016: Band of Doodlers working on the doodle wall

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STGCC 2016: Kai Le Red Hood cosplay 1

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STGCC 2016: Kai Le Red Hood cosplay 2 and me

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STGCC 2016: Two-Face cosplay (Joe)

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STGCC 2016: Red Hood cosplay (Kai Le)

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STGCC 2016: Red Hood cosplay (Kai Le)

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STGCC 2016: Red Hood vs. Two-Face cosplays

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STGCC 2016: The Force Awakens Luke Skywalker cosplay – bad nephew!

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STGCC 2016: The Force Awakens Luke Skywalker cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Star Wars photo booth

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STGCC 2016 XM Studios booth

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STGCC 2016: Special guest digital artist Sakimachan and her Rule 63 Cruella de Vil art

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STGCC 2016: Rey cosplay (Xinyi) and Kylo Ren cosplay (Ria)

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STGCC 2016: Armoured Batman statue

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STGCC 2016: Overwatch Tracer cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Suicide Squad Harley Quinn cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Madame Joker cosplay (Darah)

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STGCC 2016: Rule 63 Flash cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Belle (Kuro Koneko), Alice (Celeste), Mulan (Amanda) and Ariel (Matty)

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STGCC 2016: Raven cosplay (Niko)

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STGCC 2016: Spider-Punk cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Wolverine Cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Raven cosplay (Min Lauren)

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STGCC 2016: Black Panther cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Mayday Parker Spider-Girl cosplay (Theresa)

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STGCC 2016: Red Hood Cosplay

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STGCC 2016: King Llane Wyrn cosplay (Joey)

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STGCC 2016: Nightwing and Robin cosplay 1

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STGCC 2016: Nightwing and Robin cosplay 2

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STGCC 2016: Terra cosplay (Ching Hui)

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STGCC 2016: Granny Emma Webster cosplay (Aunty Shirley)

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STGCC 2016: Granny Emma Webster cosplay (Aunty Shirley)

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STGCC 2016: Suicide Squad Joker cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Starfire cosplay (Anne)

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STGCC 2016: Deadshot Suicide Squad movie cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Steven Universe and Rose Quartz cosplay (Charles and Caetuna)

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STGCC 2016: Terra and Starfire cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Terra and Raven

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STGCC 2016: Starfire with Matt the Radar Technician custom action figure

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STGCC 2016: No Terra, stay away from the Slades!

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STGCC 2016: Green Arrow and Arsenal cosplays

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STGCC 2016: Matt the Radar Technican cosplay (Mezame)

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STGCC 2016: New 52 Harley Quinn cosplay

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STGCC 2016: New 52 Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Judge Dredd, Wonder Woman and Deathstroke cosplays

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STGCC 2016: Doctor Who Lady Cassandra cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Suicide Squad Joker (E-Hong) and Harley Quinn (Hana) cosplays

STGCC 2016: Suicide Squad Joker (E-Hong) and Harley Quinn (Hana) cosplays

STGCC 2016: Suicide Squad Joker (E-Hong) and Harley Quinn (Hana) cosplays

STGCC 2016: Suicide Squad Joker (E-Hong) and Harley Quinn (Hana) cosplays

STGCC 2016: Suicide Squad Joker (E-Hong) and Harley Quinn (Hana) cosplays

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STGCC 2016: Batman and Catwoman cosplays

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STGCC 2016: Beast Boy and Raven cosplays

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STGCC 2016: Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin cosplays

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STGCC 2016: Gar gives Beast Kingdom a free advertisement

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STGCC 2016: Terra x Beast Boy

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STGCC 2016: Fables Boy Blue cosplay (Kie)

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STGCC 2016: Raven cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Darth Talon cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Raven cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Jack Frost and Elsa cosplays

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STGCC 2016: Weapon X Wolverine cosplay (Rocky)

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STGCC 2016: Batman cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Green Goblin cosplay with functioning Goblin glider

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STGCC 2016: Baby Mercy Overwatch cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Constantine and Zatanna cosplay

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STGCC 2016: Omar Dogan and Harley Quinn artwork

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STGCC 2016: Teen Titans and Super cosplay group

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STGCC 2016: Teen Titans group cosplay

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Heeding the Call: Ghostbusters Singapore red carpet

For F*** Magazine

HEEDING THE CALL

Ghostbusters star Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig grace the red carpet as fans set a world record
By Jedd Jong

Inclement weather threatened the Ghostbusters red carpet and fan event at the Event Plaza at Marina Bay Sands on Sunday night, but the skies cleared up just in time and fans’ spirits remained undampened. A group of 263 people clad in white hoodies, trousers and masks set a new Guinness World Records title for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Ghosts in a Single Venue. Radio deejays Justin Ang, Vernon A, Joakim Gomez and Gerald Koh served as emcees, dressed in Ghostbusters uniforms with inflatable proton packs.

The event was organized by Sony Pictures Entertainment to promote the new Ghostbustersreboot film starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth, and directed by Paul Feig. Both McCarthy and Feig were in attendance, greeting fans and signing autographs on the red carpet. The female-led reboot has been met with harsh criticism from long-time Ghostbusters fans, but one wouldn’t be able to tell based on the warm reception McCarthy and Feig received.

Commenting on this record, Feig said, “Seeing this many people get their ghost on and set a Guinness World Records title is a true testament to this amazing franchise that Dan [Aykroyd], Harold [Ramis] and Ivan [Reitman] created 32 years ago.  Fortunately, I ain’t afraid of no ghosts because we were up to our armpits in them.  Ghostbusters of the world, gear up!” Feig was accompanied by his wife Laurie on the red carpet.


Rishi Nath, the Guinness World Records Adjudicator who presented McCarthy and Feig with an official certificate, added, “We are incredibly impressed the fans’ dedication to Ghostbusters as well as their sense of adventure and fun.  It’s official – this is a fantastic achievement!”



The event kicks off several days of Hollywood glamour as the Sony Summit continues apace in Singapore, with Inferno stars Tom Hanks and Irrfan Khan and director Ron Howard as well as The Magnificent Seven director Antoine Fuqua set to grace the red carpet this week.


Ghostbusters opens July 14 2016.

Cap’s Night Out: Team Cap Light-Up and Fireworks at Marina Bay Sands

CAP’S NIGHT OUT
Team Cap takes over the Marina Bay Sands skyline
By Jedd Jong


There has been considerable build-up to the finale of Team Cap’s visit to Singapore, so one could excuse us for being underwhelmed by the end result. Team Iron Man had thrown down the gauntlet, with Robert Downey Jr. lighting up the Eiffel Tower in gold and red, complete with glowing ‘eyes’ and an ‘arc reactor’. “Team Cap…I mean, how do you come back from that?” Downey said after the big reveal in Paris. “You are toast!”

Stars Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier) and Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), with co-director Joe Russo, answered the challenge with a multimedia display and fireworks show at the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort on the night of 22ndApril. Clips from the film were projected onto the ArtScience Museum and the spine of the hotel’s first tower, complemented by pyrotechnics. The show lasted around six minutes, starting and stopping intermittently.


Team Cap only made their way to the podium on the Helix Bridge 45 minutes after the event was scheduled to begin. Access to the bridge was tightly controlled, following the zealous fan turn-out for the Blue Carpet event the previous night. Most of the media weren’t allowed onto the same pod as Team Cap; F*** was one pod away. Safety was a concern, seeing as the bridge has a limited weight capacity. There were also rumours that Evans had been cranky the previous day, with some taking his attire at the Blue Carpet premiere (the same shirt he wore to the press conference, as opposed to Mackie’s and Stan’s three-piece suits) and his much later arrival compared to the director and other actors as indication that he was reluctant to walk the Blue Carpet.

If one had happened to pass by the Marina Bay waterfront and were catching the display from afar, it would’ve passed muster, but the fans and media weren’t so impressed. This reviewer overhead a fan asking her friends, “can we all agree that Team Iron Man won?” as they were filing out after the show.

The promotional tour rivalry will come to a head with Team Iron Man and Team Cap coming face-to-face at the film’s upcoming premiere in London.

Captain America: Civil War is in theatres 28 May 2016.

Photos by Tedd and Jedd Jong

Action figure is the writer’s own. 


Painting the Town Blue – Captain America: Civil War Blue Carpet

For F*** Magazine

PAINTING THE TOWN BLUE

Team Cap takes Marina Bay Sands by storm
By Jedd Jong

To call it a ‘crowd’ would be a gross understatement. On the evening of Thursday 22ndApril, throngs of fans showed up to try to catch a glimpse or, better yet, a coveted selfie with or autograph from the stars of Captain America: Civil War. The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) were overrun with eager folks armed with homemade signs and cheering at the top of their lungs, some of whom had arrived as early as 10 hours before the scheduled start of the event.
That glorious Scott Pilgrim reference though.
In what must have been a heart-breaking move for any DC fan, a black curtain was set up in front of the DC Super Heroes café that overlooked the Blue Carpet area, out of deference to Marvel. It is perhaps an apt metaphor for how Marvel is pummelling the Distinguished Competition at the Multiplex.
A highlight of Team Cap’s visit to Singapore, stars Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier) with co-director Joe Russo walked the Blue Carpet. Deejay Glenn Ong and model/actress Stephanie Carrington were the evening’s hosts, with actor Paul Foster providing back-up on the Blue Carpet. The event was kicked off with the finals of a cosplay competition, with an enthusiastic Indonesian gentleman sporting accurate Tony Stark-esque facial hair drawn on and eyewear beneath his Iron Man helmet taking the top prize.

Stan looked more comfortable than he did at the press conference that morning, rocking a striking turquoise suit, with Mackie going for a more classic option. Evans looked like he rolled out of bed, wearing the same shirt and trousers he wore to the press conference – but one could stand to be a little sloppy if one possessed even a fraction of Evans’ pulchritude.
The sale of packages priced at $688 and $1288, including access to the Blue Carpet, had become the talk of the town. It was later clarified that the majority of Blue Carpet passes were being distributed to invited children and teenagers as part of Disney and MBS’ corporate social responsibility initiatives; these children would be invited on stage later. Other recipients included contest winners and VIPs. A limited number of Blue Carpet passes were then bundled together with products like collectible t-shirts, figurines and a one-night stay at the MBS hotel.
A considerable number of lucky fans who had arrived early enough to stake out a good spot lining the Blue Carpet were able to get the attention of the stars, who made every effort to sign as many autographs and take as many selfies as time would allow. Mackie even leapt over the barricades to reach fans standing several rows back, with Russo following suit. Even though the measures to prevent the average fan from attending weren’t as extreme as previously thought, the layout of the Blue Carpet did make it difficult for those who weren’t journalists or pass-holders to get very close to the stars.

The under-privileged children who were beneficiaries of MBS’ social outreach programs were welcomed onstage, and some got to ask the stars and director their questions. It’s difficult not to be a cynic in the face of such a blithely manipulative display on the part of a big corporation, but the children did seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves and a boy was overwhelmed with joy when Stan carried him up and swung him around.
Team Cap was presented with artwork by artists Elvin Ching, Guo Junwei, Noval N. Hernawen and Soefara Jafney which incorporated characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe into prominent Singapore landmarks.
The Team Cap festivities culminate on the night of 22nd April, which will see MBS lit up in red, white and blue, with an accompanying fireworks display as an act of one-upmanship aimed at Team Iron Man, who set a tough act to follow by lighting up the Eiffel Tower in red and gold with glowing blue ‘eye’s during their Paris tour.

Photos by Tedd Jong 

Better the Devil You Know: Lawyering Up with Charlie Cox

As published in Issue #75 of F*** Magazine

 

Text:
BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
F*** lawyers up with Charlie Cox, star of Netflix’s Daredevil
By Jedd Jong
Matt Murdock escaped the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen for a sojourn in Singapore, which does not have nearly as many ninja assassins roving the streets. F*** was in attendance as Netflix put together a meet-and-greet for social media influencers to rub shoulders with the Man Without Fear himself, Charlie Cox. The lobby of boutique hotel The Club had been transformed into a Netflix theme park of sorts dubbed “Club Netflix”, sporting décor reflecting Orange is the New Black (duct tape slippers), Narcos(fake bills bearing Pablo Escobar’s face), Jessica Jones (an Alias Investigations sign on the washroom door), and, of course, Daredevil – a plaque reading “Nelson and Murdock: Avocados at Law” had been installed on the wall outside.
Cox was, as many of his fans would expect, supremely charming as he fielded questions from the star-struck social media personalities present. He looked thrilled to see a cosplayer show up to the shindig in full Daredevil regalia and reacted positively when this writer showed Cox a Matt Murdock custom action figure he had made.
Daredevil is currently in its second season, with all episodes streaming on Netflix. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has spread far beyond the silver screen, now encompassing shows on TV and online streaming platforms. Cox’s portrayal of Murdock, a lawyer who was blinded as a child in an accident but gained superhuman senses as a by-product, has attracted praise from fans and critics alike.
“It’s a job,” Cox said with a laugh when asked what drew him to the role – but it was soon clear that this is a job the actor takes very seriously. “I just thought it was so different, interesting and sophisticated, unlike any superhero show that I’d seen, and I thought it was a very cool opportunity,” he said. Cox hadn’t read the comics before accepting the role, which he said was “helpful” as his first exposure to the character was the script for the first two episodes, written by Drew Goddard. Cox would later delve into the source material, and he identified Brian Michael Bendis’, Frank Miller’s and Jeph Loeb’s respective runs as writers on Daredevil as the biggest influences that the show drew upon.
Cox addressed the 2003 Daredevil film starring Ben Affleck, saying he was determined to be secure in his own portrayal of Murdock before watching the movie, which he eventually got around to. “I had heard a lot of jokey negativity about this film. Funnily enough, when I watched the film, I think Ben Affleck did a really good job. I really liked his Daredevil,” Cox remarked. He added that he feels “the film suffers tonally,” which is a widely-held opinion. “What’s interesting about it is that I don’t think you can compare the two,” he continued. “The film is closer tonally to Stan Lee’s Daredevil. It’s more light-hearted, it’s more comic book-y, and it’s geared towards a slightly younger audience. It’s a very different interpretation.”
As with any live-action portrayal of a comic book character, the costume has drawn much scrutiny. For the first 12 episodes of the 13-episode first season, we only see Murdock clad in a thrown-together black get-up, with the full reveal of the Daredevil costume coming in the final episode. “If you get it wrong, people are upset,” Cox said, acknowledging the importance of the design. The old-fashioned technique of constructing a special effects costume involves taking full-body moulds of the actor, but Cox underwent a more high-tech process: a full body laser scan.
When Cox wore the suit on the set for the first time, security was extremely tight so images would not be leaked, and the 150 person-strong crew were all eager to catch a glimpse of the Daredevil costume. “I felt a little embarrassed because everyone was looking at me,” Cox said. Donning the armour tapped into Cox’s childhood dreams of being Spider-Man. “Now I’m cooler, I’m Daredevil!” he exclaimed, throwing a little shade in the web-crawler’s direction.
While Cox confirmed that the initial black outfit was obviously more comfortable, he said the most recent suit, the third in the series’ continuity, is his favourite for reasons of form and function. “It’s the iconic red suit: it’s a very cool texture, it feels cool when you’re wearing the suit, but it’s also protective.” He clarified that it wasn’t like “really getting beaten up”, but the stunts and fighting still take their toll. Cox revealed that co-star Jon Bernthal (Frank Castle/The Punisher) got a little too into character. “He was kicking me in the stomach, really hard. He didn’t realise he was doing it! But luckily I had this chest plate on so it was protecting me. After about ten takes, I was like ‘dude, you gotta stop kicking me!’”
Speaking of The Punisher, his introduction into the MCU via Daredevil’s second season has gotten Marvel fans all giddy. The character serves as a foil for Daredevil, who does not endorse Punisher’s brutal, merciless brand of vigilante justice. Over the course of the season, Murdock comes to understand Castle and his tragic motives, but Punisher’s entry onto the scene is a wake-up call of sorts. Murdock comes to realise that he is “is responsible for people like Frank Castle showing up in Hell’s Kitchen and the carnage that they bring,” Cox pointed out. “Potentially more frightening is that if he is responsible, then he has to stop being Daredevil. And that is something I don’t think he’s able to do. I think at this point he’s heavily addicted to it and he will do everything in his power to protect his right to be Daredevil.”

Murdock’s romantic relationships have always been complicated. Season 1 sees him dating nurse Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and in Season 2, he falls in love with Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), the associate at the Nelson and Murdock law firm. A spanner in the works manifests itself in the form of Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung), a debutante/assassin with whom Murdock was involved in college.

 

 

“Matt is completely himself with both of those women,” Cox said of Karen and Elektra, shedding light on the paradox of how they reinforce different aspects of Murdock’s personality but he cannot wholly be himself with either. “With Karen, he’s able to be the man he’s dreamed of being, the man his father wanted him to be. Someone who majors in kindness and generosity and authenticity and who fights for law and order and goodness,” Cox reasoned. “That’s who he is, that’s who he wants to be. But she doesn’t know about this other aspect of his life, which is a huge part of it, which is Daredevil.”
“With Elektra, the opposite is true,” Cox said of the femme fatale. “He’s able to be Daredevil. He’s unashamed of himself as Daredevil with her, she encourages him. But she also sees a darkness in him and she encourages him to have a disrespect for property and law and all those things, which isn’t truly him. He’s torn. Like a lot of people, men, women, across all generations, they often feel torn.”
Cox got into some of the technicalities of portraying a sight-impaired person. He trained with consultant Joe Strechay, who is blind, and also incorporated some mannerisms from a blind dog he once had. You could hear the hearts in the room being warmed when Cox talked about his pet. “If you grow up with your sight, you use your eyes for so much stuff that you don’t even realise,” Cox shared. “Especially when you act, but even in real life, I can say one thing, but my eyes can tell you that I mean something very different.” Acting without the use of one’s eyes is a challenge, since “emotion comes from the eyes.” Cox noticed Strechay would look towards someone’s mouth when they were talking, because that’s where the sound comes from, and incorporated that into his portrayal of Murdock.
Cox was honoured by the American Foundation for the Blind with the Hellen Keller Achievement Award, and the actor feels privileged to be able to represent the sight-impaired community and collaborate closely with them. He admitted to feeling a little embarrassed at the award, saying “I’m just an actor who got a great opportunity to do a job and I took my job seriously. It’s lovely to be recognised.” Cox has been involved in outreach programs organised by the Foundation and recently spoke to the students of the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia.
Cox recounted how his mother often gets him to talk to her friend’s children when they ask for advice about being an actor, in order to dissuade them. “The thing that I say to them, which isn’t really advice, which probably isn’t fun to hear, but is the truth I think, is ‘get lucky. Get really lucky’,” Cox said. He elaborated that he knows a “huge amount of very talented actors” who have missed out on many opportunities. “Don’t get me wrong, I work very hard, but somehow, some way, I’ve been at the right place at the right time on a number of occasions.” Cox said he once heard Anthony Hopkins saying that he reads each script 200 times, and Cox endeavours to read the script more times than one would think is necessary, to absorb the character “by osmosis.” In addition to Hopkins, Cox listed Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman as actors he looks up to.
Funnily enough, out of everyone in the room that day, Cox was probably the only one without a social media presence. “It’s not really who I am,” he shrugged. Perhaps this adds to the appeal of Cox as a “serious actor” unoccupied with the frivolities of Twitter and Instagram.
He recounted the story of how an (unnamed) good friend of his, a “very well-known actor”, had been reading the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) message boards and found a thread calling him the “worst actor on earth”. “So I said to him “buddy, don’t read that! That’s stupid, why would you pay any attention to it?” However, Cox’s curiosity was piqued, and he was unable to resist the temptation to look up his own message boards on IMDb. “I started to scroll down, and the next part of my life happened in slow motion. As the message boards came up, the first title was a picture of me and it said ‘She-man?’ and there was a picture of me with really long hair when I was younger and big lips, I don’t know? My mum finds that hilarious. Whether that’s constructive criticism or not, I don’t know.”
The actor’s career has gone unaffected by such trifles and with more seasons of Daredevil in the works, plus a Defenders team-up show on Netflix and possible appearances in the movies themselves, Cox is ploughing ahead without fear.

 

Winter is Coming – The Huntsman: Winter’s War Singapore red carpet premiere

For F*** Magazine

WINTER IS COMING
F*** is on the red carpet to catch the stars of The Huntsman: Winter’s War
By Jedd Jong

It was a particularly muggy Sunday night, but everyone had winter on the brain. Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa played host to the stars and director of the fantasy action film The Huntsman: Winter’s War, the sequel/prequel/spin-off of 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Chris Hemsworth, Oscar winner Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain and director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan graced the red carpet and fan premiere on April 3.
Thousands of fans and guests lined the red carpet to catch a glimpse of the cast, bearing witness to the first ever movie premiere held in the theme park. Theron looked exquisite in white, while Chastain was radiant in a sequinned black gown. Hemsworth cut a dashing figure in a navy blue suit. The stars took their time to pose for selfies with and sign autographs for lucky fans. This writer was thrilled when Theron deigned to pose with his custom action figure of Furiosa, her character from Mad Max: Fury Road.
Hemsworth, Theron, Chastain and Nicolas-Troyan had their handprints preserved in concrete for posterity before entering the Pantages Theatre for the screening.
The Pantages Hollywood Theatre, normally home to the Sesame Street stage show When I Grow Up, received a makeover for the premiere. The façade of the theatre was completely transformed to resemble the ice castle in The Huntsman, which the Snow Queen Freya (Emily Blunt) calls home in the film. The 20-metre-tall structure features hand-carved and hand-painted designs, taking one month to fabricate. It was installed over a period of 10 nights. It will remain in place at Universal Studios Singapore until May 2.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War opens island-wide on 14 April 2016.
Photos by Tedd and Jedd Jong
Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who was the visual effects supervisor on Snow White: and the Huntsman and was nominated for an Oscar for his work on that film.

Claim the I(r)on Throne: Game of Thrones World of Westeros Exhibit

For F*** Magazine

CLAIM THE IO(R)N THRONE

F*** checks out The Game of Thrones Experience: World of Westeros 
By Jedd Jong

Singapore may be in the midst of a heat wave, but winter is coming all the same. Ahead of the release of Game of Thrones’ sixth season, HBO Asia is bringing the World of Westeros exhibit to the Ion Orchard mall, running from 2 to 7thApril.
The Basement 4 Atrium will temporarily be home to a display of actual screen-used weapons from the series, including Arya Stark’s Needle, Ned Stark’s sizeable Ice and Brienne of Tarth’s Oathkeeper, bestowed upon her by Jaime Lannister. Daario Naharis’ sword and arakh, both with matching sculptures of a naked woman on the hilt, are sure to turn heads. Fans will also be able to take a seat and pose for photos upon a replica of the iconic Iron Throne. Original storyboards and illustrations by artist William Simpson are also on display.
The main attraction is a 4D interactive virtual reality experience entitled Game of Thrones: Ascend the Wall. This writer entered a booth and put on the Oculus Rift goggles hanging from the ceiling. The virtual reality video, combined with sound effects from a headset and rumbling effects built into the floor and wind machines blasting air at you, simulate the experience of riding a rickety Castle Black winch elevator up the 700-foot ice wall from the show – complete with a surprise ending. Game of Thrones: Ascend the Wall was developed by HBO in cooperation the creative agency Relevent. The simulation comprises computer graphics generated by Framestore, the Academy Award-winning visual effects company which worked on Gravity.
We also got a photo opportunity with Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon, Drogon, by way of a green screen set-up.
StarHub customers will be given priority to experience the Game of Thrones: Ascend the Wall – Oculus Rift virtual reality experience as well as photo opportunities with the Iron Throne and Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon.

Actor Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran Stark on the show, will be participating in a meet-and-greet session with select fans and subscribers on Saturday, 2 April.

Game of Thrones begins its ten-episode sixth season in Singapore the same time as the US, premiering exclusively on HBO (StarHub TV Ch 601) on April 25 2016 at 9 am, with a same day primetime encore at 9 pm. The series will also be available on HBO GO on StarHub Go and HBO On Demand.

Capitaland Malls Be the Hero launch: Batman v Superman statues and Batmobile replica

BE THE HERO (OR DON’T BE, YOU DON’T OWE THIS WORLD A THING) 

I covered the launch of the Capitaland Malls Be the Hero exhibit, comprising three life-sized statues and interactive game corners at Bugis+ and a life-sized replica of the Batmobile as seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice over at Clarke Quay, on the night of 4th March.

The launch was hosted by actor/deejay Bobby Tonelli, and kicked off with two teams of stuntmen, one wearing Batman shirts and the other wearing Superman shirts, brawling as if it were a football hooligan riot. Capitaland’s head of marketing Steve Ng, Warner Bros. Singapore’s Marketing Director Diane Chan and Pacific Licensing Studio Partner, Director Wallace Tay helped remove the tarps on the statues of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Later, cosplayers who had dressed as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman were invited to pose in front of the statues.

We later adjourned to Clarke Quay, where street performers were warming up the crowd for the big event. The new Batmobile, which marries the sleekness of the Batman ’89 car with the militarised robustness of the Tumbler from the Dark Knight trilogy, sat under a white sheet in a pavilion. A light show comprising patterns projected onto the sheet preceded the tarp being reeled back with the Batmobile unveiled.

The Be The Hero exhibits run from 4 March to 3rd April 2016.

Find out more here.

Hulkbuster Unveiling at Ion Orchard

On the evening of Saturday, 18 April, the life-sized Hulkbuster statue created by Hot Toys was unveiled in front of Ion Orchard shopping mall in Singapore. I was there with a bunch of friends, many of whom were cosplaying characters from the Avengers films. Photo mega-post begins…now!

It begins.

Smoke! Confetti!

A sight to behold.

All-American cheer!

Shaun made this IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!

Thrice bitten four times shy.

The craftsmanship on that costume is in. Sane.

The famously muscley Drefan as Thor!

Put the hammer down now!

Clintasha!

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered

Agent Hill! 

Captain Photobomb

Never-miss on the left, Miss Marvel on the right.

Draw back your bow

Science bros come to blows

Shiny!

Like, ohmigawd, twinsies!

Nothing says “thug life” like a Black Widow action figure in your belt.

pre-requisite “ASSEMBLE!”

Fellow blogger and Singapore’s premiere geeky lady, Red Dot Diva!

CIVIL WAR

ION Man 
Confetti release in 3…

2…

Yay! 

That’s the face of geek joy right there.