5 Things You Might Not Know About Georges Méliès

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Make no mistake about it, Georges Méliès is one of the most influential filmmakers in cinema history. Just a few years after the birth of filmmaking in the 1890s, the French filmmaker began releasing his own minutes-long silent shorts in 1896. However, it wasn’t until the groundbreaking 1902 short A Trip to the Moon that Méliès became a bona fide international star.

In addition to being one of Méliès’s longest works, A Trip to the Moon was also an astonishing accomplishment in animation and special effects unheard of in 1902. In fact, the film’s widely popular image of a spaceship crashing into the moon’s eye turned Méliès into a legend, one that Martin Scorsese would eventually pay tribute to with his 2011 3-D adventure, Hugo. By the time of his death in 1938, the prolific talent had starred in, written, produced, and directed almost all of his 500 films.

Today, as Google celebrates Méliès with a Google Doodle, get to know more about the film pioneer with these five facts.

1. GEORGES MÉLIÈS WAS AN ILLUSIONIST BEFORE HE WAS A FILMMAKER.

Méliès’s background in magic undoubtedly aided him in becoming the first master of special effects in cinema. According to Turner Classic Movies, after finishing his studies, Méliès moved to London to work for a family friend, and there he frequented the magic shows of illusionist John Nevil Maskelyne. He began practicing tricks himself, and eventually started performing in public back in Paris.

2. HE PIONEERED SOME OF TODAY’S MOST COMMON FILM TECHNIQUES.

According to Méliès’s official website, the director is responsible for three still widely-used techniques: the first double exposure (which he used in 1898's The Cave of Demons), the first split screen with performers acting opposite themselves (in 1898's Four Heads are Better Than One), and the first dissolve (in Cinderella in 1899). He first discovered that cameras could manipulate images in the fall of 1896, when he developed the footage he took after his camera jammed filming a basic street scene.

3. HE BUILT THE FIRST MOVIE STUDIO IN EUROPE.

As one of the earliest film pioneers, Méliès had a hand in all facets of developing the film industry in Europe. According to World Film Directors: Volume I, 1890–1945, in 1896, Méliès ordered the construction of Studio A in the vegetable garden of his property outside of Paris. The building was made entirely of glass walls, with a shed used as a dressing room. However, according to his official website, Méliès was forced to turn his studio into a variety theater in 1915 (which was then turned into a hospital for wounded soldiers during the war) once the novelty of his films began to wear off. Bankrupt, he eventually abandoned filmmaking altogether.

4. MÉLIÈS TEAMED UP WITH YOUNGER BROTHER GASTON TO BRING HIS MOVIES TO THE UNITED STATES.

As piracy of his films increased overseas, Méliès needed to protect his work. As noted in Georges Méliès, by Elizabeth Ezra, Georges sent Gaston to set up shop in the U.S. to guard his copyrights and distribute his films to the American market. Eventually, Gaston himself began making his own films under Georges's Star Films banner. First based in New Jersey, Gaston relocated to San Antonio, where he started making westerns and changed the company’s branch name to American West.

5. MÉLIÈS DIRECTED THE EARLIEST ADAPTATION OF CINDERELLA.

Although the most famous adaptation of the fairytale is Disney's 1950 animated version, Méliès first brought it to the big screen as a short in 1899. The film starred Jeanne d’Alcy (as the Fairy Godmother), Méliès' second wife, who appeared in most of his works.

Mark Hamill Confirmed How He'll Be Returning in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

We can always count on Mark Hamill to give us some early intel on the next Star Wars movie—whether the studios like it or not. And earlier this week, the 67-year-old actor came through for us yet again.

While attending the Child’s Play premiere, the Associated Press asked Hamill about The Rise of Skywalker and whether he would be involved in the final film in the Skywalker Saga. Hamill confirmed that he would indeed be making an appearance, and shed new light on how.

When asked if this would be his final appearance in the Star Wars franchise, Hamill replied, “I sure hope so,” before elaborating, “I had closure in [The Last Jedi]. The fact that I’m involved in any capacity is only because of that peculiar aspect of the Star Wars mythology where if you’re a Jedi, you get to come back and make a curtain call as a Force ghost.”

The fact that Hamill will appear as a Force ghost doesn’t come as a big shock to fans, as most have been convinced that was the only way he could return to the franchise. (He did die in the previous film, The Last Jedi, after all.) However, suspicious fans have been speculating about other ways he could come back, with some using promotional photos as possible evidence that Luke will be resurrected.

Despite knowing a major part of Luke Skywalker’s return in The Rise of Skywalker, we still have plenty of questions. We’ll just have to wait until the film debuts on December 20 to find everything out.

[h/t Associated Press]

Fans Are Rallying for Macaulay Culkin to Play Joker in The Batman

Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone (1990).
Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone (1990).
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

After months of speculation, it was only recently announced that Robert Pattinson will be the next actor to don the Dark Knight's iconic cape in Matt Reeves's upcoming film The Batman. Unsurprisingly, the response to the casting news was mixed.

While it’s believed The Batman will center around a younger version of Bruce Wayne than we’ve seen previously, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding other major plot points—including which villains will be included, and who will play them.

We Got This Covered reports that various DC characters are being rumored to appear in the film, including Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, Firefly, Two-Face, and the Mad Hatter. But fans are desperate to know if the most notable Batman villain will be included on the roster: the Joker.

Though there has been no mention of the Joker in conversations surrounding the new film, that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill—nor has it prevented fans from offering up their ideas on who could nail the iconic role, and Macaulay Culkin is apparently at the top of the list.

The former child star has not commented on the validity of the rumors, but many DC fans are on board with it, including digital artist Bryan Zapp who created an image of what Culkin would look like as the Joker.

Meanwhile, Todd Phillips's Joker, a standalone film focusing on the villain’s origin story and starring Joaquin Phoenix, is set to hit theaters on October 4.

Although it could get confusing, The Batman will be part of the DCEU, while Joker will not live in the shared universe, which means there could very well be two portrayals of the same character at the same time. Whether or not Culkin would take on the role—or if there will be a Joker at all—is only up for speculation right now.

[h/t We Got This Covered]

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