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Thatsmye Talks With Marvel’s Head Prop Master

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Movies are more than just actors, it is about everything they interact with on screen. Creating a world, whether it be 1940s Chicago or a planet far, far away is all about the little details.

When it comes to making those details come to life you go to the prop master. In Hollywood there’s few better than Russell Bobbitt. Bobbitt has been in the industry for almost four decades with a resume that includes everything from Invaders from Mars and Jingle All the Way to the entire Iron Man trilogy.

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe celebrates its 10th anniversary That’s My Entertainment sat down with Bobbitt to talk about his amazing career and what went into the creation of some of the most iconic pieces in movie history today.

You’ve been working with Marvel since the very beginning in Iron Man. How do you think your work as prop master has evolved with the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that we’re almost 20 movies in?

The Marvel projects have been great for me. I’m part of the 10 year anniversary because I started on Iron Man 1 and have been working on the movies ever since. The context of the Marvel films make them incredibly challenging to work on. If I were working on a period film set in the 1940s, there’s a clear visualization of how that should look. In space, there are no rules so your imagination comes into play. The biggest challenge is to sell the audience the idea of humans as superheroes! But advancements in technology definitely help us bring this to life.

You got your start with the movie Private Resort in 1985. How has the industry changed since then artistically? Has the role of the art department and the prop master changed?

When I started out in the industry 35 years ago, the technology wasn’t quite as advanced as it is today. We didn’t even have cell phones when we were making prop phones for the characters! Nowadays, I use 3D printers and we have illustrators to create CAD drawings and model every prop from the inside out. The technology allows us to analyse whether it’s going to work mechanically or not. There is also a team of painters and sculptors who provide the finishing touches.

 You’ve worked on every genre of film out there. Do you have a favorite? What makes you choose one film over another?

I guess comedy because I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Betty Thomas, she taught me how to put make the audience laugh and how that can be achieved with different camera angles, cuts and of course props! 

When you were young you were fascinated with mechanics and electronics. Do you have any recommendations for other tinkerers out there that want to take your career path? What brought you to the film side of things?

I would say it’s important to have a passion for whatever you do. If you have a real talent and love for your craft, you will go far in the film industry. My mother was friends with a set decorator named Robert Gould and he gave me a job for three weeks when I was 20 years old. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. It was a huge challenge in the first few days. He threw me on set in front of a camera and essentially said ‘make it work’- and I did! I completely fell in love with the magic of movie making that week.

 Do you have a favorite prop you created? What is it about that you love?
My favorite prop will have to be the Arc Reactor that Tony Stark wears on his chest. The research and development of the prop and all of it’s different iterations have been great fun to figure out. Robert Downey Jr. and myself sit and talk about each one and what purpose it will serve in the story.

Is there a Marvel character you want to design for but haven’t yet?
Perhaps the X-Men. But I stay very busy with the handful of characters that I am currently doing props for. The team is currently over 50 characters. But I always invite more to cross my path.

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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