ULTIMATE KILLING MACHINE “JOHN WICK” BACK FOR VENGEANCE

Known as the legendary killing machine in a hyper-real, super-secret criminal community, “John Wick” (played by Keanu Reeves), walks its dark halls once again after retiring from the ruthless world he used to live to avenge the death of his wife. After the sudden death of his beloved wife, John Wick (Reeves) receives one last gift from her, a beagle puppy named Daisy, and a note imploring him not to forget how to love. But John’s mourning is interrupted when his 1969 Boss Mustang catches the eye of sadistic thug Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen). When John refuses to sell the car, Iosef and his henchmen break into his house and steal it, beating John unconscious and leaving Daisy dead. Unwittingly, they have just reawakened one of the most brutal assassins the underworld has ever seen.

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“The character is extremely hard-edged,” says director Stahelski. “Rather than presenting him as a stereotypical badass assassin on a rampage, we wanted to emphasize that he’s a man who has suffered loss after loss. Keanu brings an emotional side to every role he plays. He’s never hard as nails. As John, he goes through a full range of emotions: depression, anger, sorrow and hope and, ultimately, when he goes into rampage mode, he still communicates his humanity.”

After a prolonged absence from Hollywood, Reeves’ return in John Wick marks an exciting emotional transition for the actor that the filmmakers underscore with signature visual elements. “We gave Keanu longer hair, a beard, a suit,” says producer David Leitch. “He is not the Keanu of The Matrix, he is the Keanu of John Wick.

With everything he cares about gone, John reverts to his earlier self. In the workroom where he used to restore classic books, John unearths his abandoned treasure chest, a trove of weaponry, gold coins and an iconic suit. “In a way it’s almost like the costume and tools of his trade that he’s hidden,” says Reeves. “He thought it was something he would never go back to. But he kept it, didn’t he?

“John thought he was stronger than he is, when really he’d been drawing that strength from his wife, Helen,” continues Reeves. “He thought he was in control, but the switch flips and there’s no turning back. I always thought of it as being a kind of Old Testament revenge story. When someone takes the things he cherishes, violence erupts and John can’t temper it.”

Stahelski and Leitch took an active role in developing a hybrid fighting style for Reeves’ character that involves martial arts and gun work, working with 87eleven’s top stunt coordinators. “It’s something we don’t think people have seen before,” says Iwanyk. “We like to call it ‘gun fu’.”

As skilled as Reeves is, the training for John Wick was among the most intensive Stahelski and Leitch have ever implemented. “On a movie this size and shot in this way, we had to be able to change things as we went along,” explains Stahelski. “It was essential for him to be proficient in a variety of techniques. He spent four solid months getting in shape, learning judo and jiujitsu. We wanted to use practical grappling martial arts and mix in guns, so we created a new style of close-quarter combat.”

Playing an assassin opened up an enormous toolbox for Reeves to reach into. “In terms of weapons, I had the chance to work with tactical pistols and long guns,” the actor says. “The action sequences are really ambitious. Chad created longer, mise-en-scène scenarios instead of using just quick cuts, which I was really excited about. The choreography became very complicated. It’s bang, bang, bang and then throw someone, stab them—all sorts of fun stuff. I also did some stunt driving with the wonderful and amazing Jeremy Fry. I got to slide a car around and do some drifting.”

The training took place in 87Eleven’s dedicated training facility. “There are weights, wires, weapons, green screens and trampolines for training,” Reeves says. “It’s a dojo of action design.” The actor’s commitment to training was awe-inspiring, says Iwanyk. “Without question he was more committed to physical training for the movie than any actor on any movie I’ve ever worked on,” the producer adds. “He started months before shooting began, five days a week, eight hours a day. He carved out his entire summer to become John Wick.”

“John Wick” opens October 29 in cinemas nationwide (from Pioneer Films).

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SHAILENE WOODLEY DARES TO BARE IN “WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD”

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Shailene Woodley, known for her notable performances in “The Descendants” with George Clooney and in blockbuster YA(young adult) movies such as “Divergent” and “The Fault In Our Stars” dares to explore in another dramatic feat in “White Bird In A Blizzard,” an adaptation from Laura Kasischke’s book and directed by Gregg Araki.

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Widely hailed author Kasischke tells a mesmerizing story of youthful passion and loss of innocence in “White Bird In A Blizzard,” where Woodley plays the 17-year old central character, Kat Connors, whose life suddenly turns upside down on the disappearance of her mother. As Kat and her impassive father pick up the pieces of their daily lives, she finds herself curiously unaffected by her mother’s absence. But in dreams that become too real to ignore, she’s haunted by her mother’s cries for help. Finally, she must act on her instinct that something violent and evil has occurred – a realization that brings Kat to a chilling discovery.

“The movie is about the mystery of trying to figure out where her mother went and what happened to her,” Woodley explains of the movie. In the movie, Woodley’s role entails going nude on some love scenes and the actress felt that, “I felt like I loved the character, and I felt like I loved the story, and I felt like nudity is a part of real life. If that happened to be part of the story in a really beautiful, grounded, honest way, then I would never say no to a project based on the fact that nudity is involved,” Shailene shared in recent interviews during the film’s premiere. The film also stars Eva Green, Thomas Jane, Christopher Meloni and Shiloh Fernandez.

“White Bird In A Blizzard” opens November 12 in cinemas nationwide.

EVIL FOUND A WAY TO COME BACK IN “DEVIL’S PACT”

In “Devil’s Pact,” the sequel to UK’s top thrilling movie “The Pact” that terrified audiences, June Abbott (played by Camilla Luddington of “Gery’s Anatomy”) is seen moving in to the house where the first incident of the Judas Killer was discovered. In this elevated sequel, we meet June, a woman whose carefully constructed life is beginning to unravel due to lucid nightmares so awful they disturb her waking life.

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June works solo cleaning up grisly crime scenes —and is dating clean-cut young cop Daniel (Scott Michael Foster). Daniel is investigating a murder with his superior (Nicki Micheaux) when they’re barged in on by FBI Agent Ballard (Patrick Fischler), who had pursued the original killer and has been called in because this new slaying shows pointed similarities to the Judas Killer’s copycat.

Seemingly indifferent, Ballard immediately makes a foe of Daniel, then puts off June by informing her she’s possibly in danger — because she’s the daughter of one of the real Judas Killer’s victims. When her Mom is attacked, June has a premonition of it and tries to uncover the mystery that surrounds it.

Watch the trailer here:

“Devil’s Pact” opens November 12 in cinemas nationwide from Axinite Digicinema.

5 AMAZING PRODUCTION FACTS ABOUT “EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS” (3D) – OPENS DECEMBER 5 IN CINEMAS

Double  Academy®-Award nominee designer Arthur Max collaborates with master filmmaker Ridley Scott for a grand scale production in the upcoming epic adventure “Exodus: Gods and Kings.”

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Award-winning Max has been known for his works in “Gladiator” (2000) and “American Gangster” (2007). He was awarded a BAFTA for Best Production Design for Gladiator in 2000. As production designer his other credits include “G.I. Jane”, “Black Hawk Down,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Body of Lies,” “Robin Hood,” “Prometheus” and “The Counsellor” – all directed by Scott – “Se7en” and “Panic Room.”

Max and Ridley’s collaboration started on a cola commercial that Ridley’s company was making 25 years ago. “Ridley’s the best. He comes from the art department himself.   He was a production designer before he directed, so he’s our best friend and he’s very interested in what we do,” Max enthuses.

Filmed in 3D, Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” will tell the story of Moses, abandoned by a desperate mother as a baby after the Egyptian rulers orders the murder of all boys born to slaves. The boy is found in the bulrushes by the Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in the royal household, where he grows up alongside Ramses, the future monarch.  As a man, Moses has a vision and turns his back on his privileged life and leads his people, the Israelites, from enslavement. Scott’s film will feature ground-breaking special effects, including the plagues visited upon Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea.  Filmed at Pinewood Studios in London and on location in Almeria, Spain and Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, “Exodus: Gods & Kings” is the reimagining of one of the greatest stories ever told by one of the best filmmakers working today.

Oscar winner Christian Bale leads a stellar cast as Moses with Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) as Joshua, a former slave who becomes his right hand man in the uprising. Joel Edgerton is Ramses, the ‘living God’ who sees Moses, raised as his brother, lead a rebellion against him.  Sigourney Weaver,  Sir Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton and John Turturro also star in the movie.

Featuring groundbreaking special effects, including the plagues that visited Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, Arthur Max further shares five interesting facts while filming “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” read on to find out what they are:

  1. His team planted 50 palm trees in one of the film’s locations, Almeria, Spain in place of the dead trees found before the filming started.
  2. The set in Spain is so huge that it is even bigger than 20th Century Fox lot in Los Angeles.
  3. The 400 frogs in the plague scenes were real (from UK) and they had to hire eight frog wranglers too.
  4. No fake background, the movie was filmed in 360° environments with walk throughs and steady cameras.
  5. The filmmakers experienced biblical wind in combination with the most amazing sunset skies that the visual effects department caught on photographs and on film.

“Exodus: Gods and Kings” (3D) opens December 5 nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by

Warner Bros.

Samuel L. Jackson stars in anime adaptation ‘KITE’

Yasuomi Umetsu’s Kite was a cutting edge anime that skirts the definition of hentai as it tells the story of young assassins in a futuristic city. Samuel L. Jackson is a fan. “I’ve always liked the story, I’ve watched it for years. When I heard [David Ellis] was doing it I was like, ‘Tell him I’d like to be a part of it’.” However, Ellis passed away before the project could really take off. Jackson stayed anyway. “When I commit to a project I kinda see it through, so I stayed. I’m glad I did.”

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Jackson plays the anglicized version of Mr Akai (now Karl Aker) – the cop who takes in orphaned Sawa, played by India Eisley, and makes her into a deadly weapon. The relationship between Sawa and Aker is a complex one and, in the anime, sexual and dark, but what translates into the movie was up for questioning. Jackson wasn’t sure exactly what the original intention was but he was ready for anything. “They didn’t tell it as hard as I wanted to tell it… I’m always of the mind that – look you knew what you were choosing when you chose it. I knew what I was stepping into because I’m very familiar with the story. I’m willing to do what the story’s about… I like dark.”

Over the years he’s certainly proved that with his choices of roles, and Karl Akers is sure to be one of the darker parts in a distinguished career of making characters his own. However the Mr Akai part is very distinctive itself, and there were aspects of the original that Jackson chose to keep. “I wanted to keep the steel that is his personality and the toughness and the deviousness of him. I tried to make them real human traits that aren’t props.” Yet he wanted Akers to be real too. “He’s that guy. He’s in that place and he uses subterfuge and lies to get things done.”

Akers sounds like a man who fits well into the darkness Jackson embraced for this film. Dark though the plot of girl assassins and corrupt men may be, what Jackson did to build something emotionally with India Eisley and her character Sawa. “I focused more on my relationship with her, and how to keep it honest, in whatever honesty a person like that can have, and trying to keep her comfortable. It was really important that I keep her comfortable and help her get through whatever she’s trying to get through,” Jackson said, basically being nothing like his character.

“KITE” is released and distributed by CAPTIVE CINEMA.

SHOWING ON OCTOBER 29. NATIONWIDE!

India Eisley: From vampire Eve in Underworld Awakening to Assassin Sawa in ground-breaking Japanese Anime in Kite.

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20-year-old American actress India Eisley is best known for her role as Ashley Jurgen in ABC’s family drama series – The Secret Life of the American Teenager and for her vampire role of Eve in Underworld: Awakening. Based on the ground-breaking Japanese Anime. India shows us more of her versatility starring  as ‘emotionless killing machine’ Sawa. India gives deets of what it was like working alongside critically acclaimed actor Samuel L Jackson for Kite as well as highlights of her career in 2014.

When did you fall in love with the art of acting and how long have you been acting?        

Well, I’ve always loved films.. And I became interested in acting professionally, when I was around 12 years old.. That’s when I started auditioning really..

 Your new movie “Kite” is based off the popular Anime/Manga. Can you tell us about how you got the role of Sawa and what made you interested in the role?

I got called in to audition for kite in 2010, and I didn’t really know anything about it, other than what was written in the description which was just, young female assassin haha.. So I went in, didn’t hear back for two years, then got a call from my manager saying they had offered me the role..

 Can you tell us a little bit about you’re character Sawa?

Sawa, is a young girl, she’s an orphan, her parents were killed when she was very young.. She believes they were killed by a man called the emir. Her “guardian” is a corrupt cop named aker, and he supplies her with a memory erasing drug called amp, which he makes sure she takes in order to complete these killing assignments that aker arranges for her. She believes that with every kill she is getting closer to killing the emir and therefore avenging her parents..

What was it like working with Samuel L. Jackson on set?                     

He is a really lovely person. I can’t say enough about him really. He’s a very giving actor and really a comfort to have around because he brings all of his years of experience, that professionalism. I hope to work with him again at some point haha

 Kite has a lot of action scenes can you tell us a little bit about your preparation for the scenes. Did you train a little bit for the role?

I trained for 3 months with this wonderful stunt coordinator, who unfortunately didn’t work on the film, Jeff Imada. Such a great person, he was amazingly patient with me haha. He had me doing martial arts and weapons training, knives and guns mainly, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

 What was you’re most challenging scene to film as an actress on this film?

Well, physically things were a bit difficult as, the locations were quite gritty and not the most “comfy” of places. Which looking back, I think that it shows that it was not a plushy set. Not in the least bit, but that worked I think.. It gave a very visually raw feeling.. So I would say that towards the end of filming, physically it was very difficult as I was quite ill at the time, a few of the night shoots were particularly tricky..

 How long did it take to film and where did you film?

Filming took about 2 1/2-3 months.. We filmed in Johannesburg

 Where can your fans follow you on social media?

I’m a tad horrible with the whole social media thing to be honest but, I do have a twitter and Instagram. The twitter is @indiaeisley1029 and Instagram is india_joy93.. I rarely update or check them though, but I’m trying haha.

‘’KITE’’ released and distributed by CAPTIVE CINEMA.

SHOWING ON OCTOBER 29, 2014. NATIONWIDE

‘’Nightcrawler’’: A Different Look At Gyllenhaal and L.A.

The pulsating shimmer of Los Angeles at night can seem either like a dreamscape fantasia or a topography of nightmares. In the new film “Nightcrawler” it is both, a land of opportunity and madness and left in some measure for the viewer to unravel.

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The directing debut for Dan Gilroy, who also wrote the screenplay, the film enters the world of nighttimes crime-scene videographers as a jumping-off point to explore contemporary media culture, self-created personalities in the Internet age and the boundaries of personal ambition

As the film opens, Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal in a transformative performance) is adrift on the fringes of society, stealing scrap to sell at salvage yards. After seeing a freelance video news team swoop in during the aftermath of a freeway car crash, he sets a new goal for himself. The right person finding the right opportunity that fits his specific pathology just so, Bloom makes a quick study of his new profession, while encountering a more established competitor (Bill Paxton), an overnight-shift television news producer (Rene Russo) desperate to make a mark and a hapless tag-along assistant (Riz Ahmed). Bloom’s rise comes with no minor cost and a small body count.

The enigmatic character of Bloom, stubborn, self-taught, self-made and possibly sociopathic, and personified by Gyllenhaal’s full-throttle performance, makes “Nightcrawler” many things at once. It is a character study, a disturbing look at the impact of media and culture, a fascinating glimpse into the nocturnal life of Los Angeles and an unpredictable, pulse-quickening thriller.

“I didn’t look at Lou as a deranged, damaged person,” said Gilroy. “I really wanted to look at a person who doesn’t have the programming and support from childhood and has limited tools to survive. To me the through-line of the character was somebody trying to survive in today’s world”.

“And the problem, as much as it’s Lou, is the world that he sprang from and the world that rewards him. We adamantly tried to never make judgments on anything in the film. We never say [the problem is] Lou, we never say it’s TV news. We were trying to get something that felt real, that felt topical, that felt current, that had a relevance to people’s lives.”

Gilroy started with an interest in the crime photographer of the 1930s and ’40s known as Weegee and then began to learn of the contemporary world of news videographers who refer to themselves as “nightcrawlers.” Connecting these together was a long fascination with what he called the “kabuki theatre” of local L.A. news.

Gilroy is a longtime screenwriter who among other credits wrote on “The Bourne Legacy” along with his brother, director and writer Tony Gilroy, who is also a producer on “Nightcrawler.” The film was edited by Dan Gilroy’s twin brother, John. (Dan Gilroy is also married to Russo.)

In crafting a specific vision for Los Angeles, cinematographer Robert Elswit (an Oscar winner for “There Will Be Blood”) shot nighttime scenes with a digital camera and daytime scenes with a 35mm film camera. The production took place at more than 70 locations around L.A. on a 29-day shoot, including 22 night shoots in a row.

Gilroy noted that for him, Gyllenhaal’s gaunt look in the film reduces his face to angular planes that catch light in different ways, shifting between handsome and grotesque. Gyllenhaal evokes the hungry demeanour of a coyote — “Lou is a nocturnal predator who comes down from the hills at night to feed,” Gilroy said — and the film’s vision of Los Angeles is also meant to capture the city’s interface with nature that many films overlook.

“The Los Angeles I usually see on film is the Los Angeles that’s man-made, downtown and freeway world,” said Gilroy. “I always responded to the wild, untamed aspect of Los Angeles. To me, it’s a place of mountains and oceans. It functions like a little island surrounded by wilderness.”

Production designer Kevin Kavanaugh spent many nights just driving around Los Angeles looking for places that captured the feel of the city after the sun goes down, specific nondescript strip malls, Lou’s apartment on a hilly street not far from Dodger Stadium or the glass box Chinese takeout place that resembles a fish tank and is a key location for the story. The more commonly filmed downtown area was largely avoided.

We wanted to get away from the metropolitan feel of L.A.,” said Kavanaugh, “to really get into the low-lying hills and more of the surrounding areas of Los Angeles. Dan and I had a lot of discussions on how to treat downtown, the Emerald City in the background. You can’t ignore it, it’s a beautiful skyline at night, so let’s treat it like a distant element, a kind of centre point that everything happens around it.”

‘’NIGHTCRAWLER’’ is released and distributed by CAPTIVE CINEMA.

Showing on November 12.

Nationwide!

GRACE OF MONACO: Biopic of Hollywood star turned royal princess Grace Kelly.

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Grace of Monaco is a real-life fairytale, a sweeping romance, a portrait of the cinematic legend of Princess Grace and a realization that love is much more than a passion, but an obligation. Set in 1962, six years after her celebrated Wedding of the Century, GRACE OF MONACO is an intimate snapshot of a year in the life of the twentieth century’s most iconic Princess – Grace Kelly – as she strived to reconcile her past and her present, a yearning for a return to the big screen with her newfound role as a mother of two, monarch of a European principality and wife to Prince Ranier III.

While contemplating overtures from Alfred Hitchcock to return to her career in Hollywood, Grace found herself plunged into a personal crisis when Rainier’s modernization of an ailing Monaco was halted by Charles de Gaulle – the French President – and his attempts to not only impose French taxation on Monaco, but reclaim the principality for France by force. The full-blown international crisis and impending French invasion that loomed – would pose a crisis not just for her family, her marriage and her country, but in Grace’s private life. It would become the moment in which a cinematic icon, an American far from home, would have to face a tough decision – return to her celebrated status as a movie star, globally loved and adored, or accept that she will never act again, embrace her new role and her new identity, her duty to her husband, her children, and the world’s second smallest country that has now become her home.

 ‘’GRACE OF MONACO” released and distributed by CAPTIVE CINEMA.

SHOWING THIS DECEMBER

 ‘’GRACE OF MONACO” released and distributed by CAPTIVE CINEMA.

SHOWING THIS DECEMBER

KEANU REEVES PLAYS HITMAN IN “JOHN WICK” – SURPRISES WITH UNEXPECTED USE OF ARTILLERY IN ACTION SCENES

  One of Hollywood’s top lead actors, 50-year old Keanu Reeves is at the top of his game- physique and stamina even better to-date in the full-throttle action-packed film “John Wick” as he takes on the titular role of a retired assassin who hunts down his adversaries with the ruthlessness that made him a crime underworld legend.

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After the sudden death of his beloved wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan), John Wick (Reeves) receives one last gift from her, a beagle puppy named Daisy, and a note imploring him not to forget how to love. But John’s mourning is interrupted when his 1969 Boss Mustang catches the eye of sadistic thug Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen). When John refuses to sell the car, Iosef and his henchmen break into his house and steal it, beating John unconscious and leaving Daisy dead. Unwittingly, they have just reawakened one of the most brutal assassins the underworld has ever seen.

John’s search for his stolen vehicle takes him to a side of New York City that tourists never see, a hyper-real, super-secret criminal community, where John Wick was once the baddest guy of all. After learning that his attacker is the only son of a former associate, vicious Russian crime boss Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), John turns his attention to vengeance. As word spreads that the legendary hit man is after his son, Viggo offers a generous bounty to anyone who can bring John down. With a veritable army on his trail, John once again becomes the remorseless killing machine the underworld once feared, launching a pitched battle against Viggo and his soldiers that could mean the end of them both.

Given the character’s fabled career as an assassin, the filmmakers initially imagined an older actor in the role. “Instead, we decided to look for someone who is not literally older, but who has a seasoned history in the film world,” “Keanu Reeves is someone I’ve always wanted to work with.”

Reeves’ impeccable action pedigree, which includes the groundbreaking “Matrix” trilogy, two chapters of the blockbuster “Speed” franchise and the daredevil adventure “Point Break,” has justifiably earned him iconic status in the action world,” says producer Basil Iwanyk.

Reeves signed on to headline John Wick, working closely with the writer to refine the story. “Basil and Peter Lawson of Thunder Road brought the script to me with the idea that I would be a part of such a great collaboration,” the actor says. “We all agreed on the potential of the project. I love the role, but you want the whole story, the whole ensemble to come to life.”

Set to open this weekend (October 24-26) in the US, online entertainment website Screenrant picks “John Wick” to be number one at the box-office with extremely positive reviews from its early screenings.  Jordan Huffman of The Guardian has this to say of the movie’s action scenes, “Veteran stuntmen and second unit directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, making their debut as feature directors, stage the action with a fierce clarity. John Wick kills his way through neon nightclubs, art deco-inspired hotel rooms and eerily lit churches. Unlike, say, the work of John Woo, there isn’t a reliance on slow-motion, which affords the blunt, direct to the head gun-fu – a “holy cow, did he just do that?” shock value. When you think you’ve seen John Wick twist in the most acrobatic way to blast the baddie sneaking up behind him, he’ll strike another pose that tops it.”

“John Wick” blasts into (local) theatres nationwide on October 30 (from Pioneer Films).

FANS SCREAM FOR LILY COLLINS AND SAM CLAFLIN IN “LOVE, ROSIE” PREMIERE IN ROME

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Phil Collins’ daughter, Lily Collins takes center stage in her first major role in the romantic comedy “Love, Rosie.” Paired with “Hunger Games” star Sam Claflin and directed by Christian Ditter based on the book “Where Rainbows End” by Cecelia Ahern, “Love, Rosie” takes on the story of best friends Rosie and Alex who’ve known each other since they’re five until adolescence gets in the way…

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In the recently concluded Film Festival in Rome, Collins dazzled in a purple long dress while Claflin showed up all cute to the delight of the screaming fans.  The film received enthusiastic reviews from the audience and the press as well.

Check out some of the Festival’s red carpet arrival here:

“Love, Rosie” opens nationwide in cinemas very soon.