CHRISTMAS MOVIES

Here’s Esquires list of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. Where did your favourite feature?

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a50565/best-christmas-movies-of-all-time/

HOW TO BE A FILM EXTRA

Most major film productions need extras or ‘background artists’, non-speaking characters to play, for example, the onlookers at an orgy (Eyes Wide Shut), customers in a street market (Notting Hill) or the audience at the Coliseum (Gladiator). 

And you don’t have to look like a supermodel of have the thespian capabilities of John Gielgud. Movies need people of all ages and shapes and sizes. Acting experience, even in school plays or amateur dramatics, helps but is not essential. 

Would-be extras need a copy of Contacts, an annual directory which lists extras casting agencies (published by Spotlight and available from some branches of Waterstones or by mail order for £9.99 plus postage and packing). Phone 0207 437 7631 for details. 

There are dozens of agencies dotted around the country. Some will not charge for putting you on their books but take 15% commission from your earnings. Others will deduct just the normal 11% commission but charge a registration fee, which may be around £100. {3}

They will generally want you to send in a CV, outlining any experience and any special talents or features you may have – you’re six feet six inches tall and you can juggle, for example – a good quality photograph, and a stamped addressed envelope.

‘A good, reputable agency will not sign anyone up without conducting a face-to-face interview,’ says Tony Gerrard, general manager of Ray Knight Casting which has provided extras for Notting Hill and the last three Bond films, among many others, and is currently casting for Dinotopia, a fantasy mini-series being shot at Pinewood Studios.

‘Remember that anyone can set up an agency and claim to be casting for all sorts so beware of sending money off to an organisation you know nothing about,’ adds Gerrard.

‘The hardest thing is to identify a professional and competent agency,’ agrees Spencer MacDonald, national organiser for the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU).

‘Ask how long an agency has been established, how much work they’ve had over the last few months and carefully check their terms and conditions.’

‘When you do get on the books of a good company, you can expect an average of one job a fortnight. Most successful extras treat it as an unusual and interesting hobby,’ adds MacDonald. 

An extra is typically paid £64.50 for a nine-hour day, inclusive of lunch. Thereafter they get £12.09 an hour. There are extra payments for utilising special skills and often travel expenses are available.

Paul Kirby, 54, who is on the books at Ray Knight Casting, first worked as an extra in 1966 on The Dirty Dozen. He has been in hundreds of productions since, most recently working on Dinotopia.

‘Most of the stars are very courteous and will always give you a ‘good morning’ but you must remember that that’s not an invitation to start a conversation,’ he says.

‘I think of the job as being like going to a party without the booze: you know a lot of the people there and most of your time is spent standing around chatting to them.’ 

DO Treat it seriously Be prepared to be available at short notice Turn up on time Switch off your mobile Be silent on set Look after your costume 

DON’T Fail to show up Breeze up to Johnny Depp, fling your arms around him and say ‘Fancy a kiss, gorgeous?’ Take a camera Take criticism/out-and-out abuse personally Make ‘helpful’ suggestions to the director

X-MEN FOR PHASE 6

The X-Men will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it might not be until Phase 6 of the MCU. The Disney/Fox merger brought a lot of titles and characters to the Mouse House, among them the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. The mutants’ storyline recently came to an end with X-Men: Dark Phoenix, so the characters are ready for a fresh start in the MCU.

During the Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Kevin Feige confirmed the X-Men are coming to the MCU, but didn’t give any details. Prior to this reveal, Feige unveiled the slate for the MCU’s Phase 4 and teased two projects in development that could be part of Phase 5, but it’s unlikely that the X-Men will be included in it, with Marvel instead waiting until Phase 6 at the earliest.

MARVEL: PHASE 4

Marvel Studios’ Phase Four of its Marvel Cinematic Universe will include 10 movies and Disney + series when it launches next year, with 2021 looking especially crowded. President Kevin Feige appeared at San Diego Comic-Con for Marvel’s 90-minute appearance in Hall H, where he gave a pretty lengthy update on Phase 4.

The Phase Four slate that Marvel unveiled includes the following: Black Widow (May 1st, 2020), Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020), The Eternals (November 6th, 2020), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings(February 12, 2021), WandaVision (Spring 2021), Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (May 7th, 2021), Loki (Spring 2021), What If…?(Summer 2021), Hawkeye (Fall 2021), and Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5th, 2021). Feige made a surprise announcement at the end saying that he didn’t have time to address where the Fantastic Four or X-Men would end up in the franchise, but that one additional project will be Blade, which will feature Mahershala Ali.

The next phase includes a mix of sequels, like Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness — to be directed by Scott Derrickson, which is described as the MCU’s first horror film, Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth movie in the franchise, to be directed by Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi. Unlike the last several Marvel movies, however, Natalie Portman will play Thor this time around. There’s at least one prequel, too — Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson in the titular role, one that she has been fighting to have for years. Rachel Weisz, Florence Pugh, and David Harbour will also star.

Other film projects will feature several new heroes: The Eternals and Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings. Like Guardians of the Galaxy, neither Shang-Chi or The Eternals are household names — but it looks as though Marvel Studios is hoping that they’ll have wide, mainstream appeal.

The Eternals centers on a group of beings known as Eternals who use their advanced skills to protect humans in the future. The comic book series, created by legendary creator Jack Kirby was, “one of many many many things that we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about,” Feige previously told Slash Film. Feige also confirmed that the movie will star Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie.

Shang-Chi will focus on the titular character, Shang-Chi, who devotes his entire life to bringing down his father’s criminal empire. Feige confirmed at Comic-Con that The Mandarin, the villain who was supposed to appear in Iron Man 3 but ultimately did not, will appear for real this time in Shang-Chi. Marvel is working with director Destin Daniel Cretton on the project, best known for his critically acclaimed film Short Term 12. Simu Liu, best known for his work on Canadian comedy series, Kim’s Convenience, is set to play Shang-Chi.

But the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t just movies anymore — Disney’s forthcoming streaming service, Disney+, will feature several ongoing projects, like Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, Hawkeye, and What If…?. Feige and his team went into some more detail about a couple of shows, including Loki. The show will follow the character after he escaped with the Tesseract in 2012 — something that only happened thanks to Avengers: Endgame. The version of Loki played by Hiddleston appears to be one that didn’t experience the events of several films, like Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. The show will premiere on Disney+ in spring 2021.

Unlike the existing entries in the MCU, where there was a major divide between the film and television properties, it looks as though the stories will fit together closely, with projects like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier picking up after Avengers: Endgame, Hawkeye exploring some of the character’s time as Ronin, and with the events in WandaVision leading right into Doctor Strange 2. Feige and Disney CEO Bob Iger previously said the MCU films and Disney+ series would intertwine, and now we know how that looks. There’s a good chance other characters from all of the aforementioned series and films could intertwine in some way, too.

That will also extend to the Disney + show What If…?, a non-canon, animated series that presents alternate takes on the existing MCU, like what if Loki had found the hammer of Thor? The panel revealed that numerous MCU actors will reprise their roles for these alternate takes.

The Phase 4 slate answers the immediate question about what comes after the franchise that culminated with Avengers: Endgame and Spider-man: Far From Home. Expect more information next month at Disney’s D23 conference.

MOVIE PROPS YOU CAN OWN

Over 600 rare movie props and costumes that were once used by some of Hollywood’s leading actors will be up for grabs at the Prop Store’s upcoming Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction, which will be held in London on September 20. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the items that will be going under the hammer:

1. HAN SOLO’S JACKET

Han Solo's jacket

Estimate: $661,000-$1.3 million

Anything that was once worn by Harrison Ford is bound to be cool, but the sleek, slate grey jacket that he wore in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) wouldn’t look out of place at a modern-day concert or art gallery. Of course, you probably wouldn’t want to wear a potentially million-dollar jacket around town, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

2. CATWOMAN’S CORSET

Catwoman's corset
 

Estimate: $3,970-6,620

Michelle Pfeiffer wasn’t the first actress to play Catwoman, but she did give the villain-slash-superhero a sultry, red-lipsticked look. This corset worn by Pfeiffer probably isn’t the most comfortable attire for defeating nemeses, but it is an iconic piece of movie memorabilia.  

3. THE BACK TO THE FUTUREHOVERBOARD

A hoverboard

Estimate: $39,680-$66,140

Many people hoped we’d have hoverboards and flying cars by now. Unfortunately, that has yet to become a reality, but you can still take home this retro, neon-colored hoverboard propused in Back to the Future II (1989). 

4. TYLER DURDEN’S FIGHT CLUBROBE

Tyler Durden's robe

Estimate: $12,750-$19,130

In his role as Tyler Durden in the 1999 movie Fight Club, Brad Pitt is seen wearing this item—a deliberately worn and stained robe adorned with steaming coffee mugs—a design that “befits Tyler’s eclectic aesthetic,” according to the listing on the Prop Store’s website.

5. INDIANA JONES’S FEDORA 

A fedora

Estimate: $265,000-$397,000

Again, you can’t go wrong with a piece of Harrison Ford memorabilia. Fedoras may have fallen out of fashion, but it will always be the perfect hat for raiding temples, escaping booby traps, and saving the day. Also up for grabs is Indy’s bullwhip from Temple of Doom(1984), which is expected to sell for upwards of $66,000.

6. THE JUMANJI BOARD GAME

The Jumanji game

Estimate: $10,200-$12,760

Fear not—it’s just an empty case. According to Prop Store, several “static versions” of the board game were used for stunts in the 1995 film, as well as scenes in which actors carried the game around. Although the front of the game looks like it’s made of ivory, it is actually cast in resin.

7. OLLIVANDER’S WAND BOXES

A wand box

Estimate: $510-$765

Wingardium leviosa! You won’t need a spell to bring these wand boxes back to your home—just a few hundred dollars lying around. The lot comes with two wand boxes that appeared in a scene showing Ollivander’s wand shop in the film Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. The boxes were given to fans who attended the movie’s premiere at London’s Leicester Square in 2001.

8. ROSE’S FAREWELL NOTE IN TITANIC

A letter from Titanic

Estimate: $5000-$8000

This simple, handwritten farewell note that Rose (Kate Winslet) gave to her fiance Cal (Billy Zane) before running away with Jack could fetch thousands of dollars. As fans of Titanic may remember, it reads, “Darling now you can keep us both locked in your safe.” It’s still one of the best burns in movie history. 

9. LEGOLAS’S ARROW

An arrow

Estimate: $10,580-$13,230

Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom in The Lord of the Rings saga, was one sharp shooter. Now you can get your hands on the Lothlórien arrow that he used—but if you want to shoot like an elf, you may want to brush up on your archery skills first.  

10. AGENT J’S NOISY CRICKET

A gun from Men in Black

Estimate: $10,500-$15,800

This weapon is the first one given to Agent J (Will Smith) when he joins the Men in Black in the 1997 blockbuster. Although he was initially disappointed by its small size, “he later discovered that it packed quite a punch,” according to the Prop Store. The replica gun lights up when you pull the trigger.