Archive for the ‘Internet '08’ Category

Hollywood movie shot at RNC

Monday, November 16th, 2009

‘Jumper,’ a Hollywood movie directed by Doug Liman, is to be released this spring. A scene for the movie was filmed at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science (RNC) in February last year. Almost 100 members of staff traveled to the center, including Liman, renowned for his film ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’, and actor Hayden Christensen, of ‘Star Wars: Episode II—Revenge of the Sith’. Filming started at 7 am and wrapped up at 2 am the next day. Unfortunately, the scenes filmed at RIKEN were eventually cut due to a change in the script. However, the filming of the scene offered an exciting opportunity for people working in scientific research and the movie industry to meet. A reporter on the event told Liman, “‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ is the first action movie I ever liked,” to which Liman answered, jokingly, “Actually, it should be called a romantic movie.”

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Over the course of a lunch break during the filming at RIKEN, Liman answered questions about both the film, ‘Jumper’, and his interest in science. One of the questions put to Liman was, “Why did you come here [RIKEN] to film this movie?” He replied, “The production company of ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ offered me the job almost a year ago. The staff of ‘Jumper’ is almost the same as that of ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith,’ and we are almost like a big family, loving and hating each other.” He was also asked whether this was the first time he had used a research facility in a film. “Yes,” he replied. “After we decided to film at RNC, I looked into all the accelerator facilities around the world on Wikipedia. Physics research using accelerators is surely as impressive as an expedition to the moon. The RIBF is an incredible place, and it really inspired me.” Finally Liman was asked whether he had an interest in science. His response was:

“In fact, the subject I got best marks in during high school was physics. And I myself have actually built a robot… a cat-shaped one. I considered studying physics at university, but I chose history instead. And I do include some more-or-less scientific factors in my movies, as I did in this one, ‘Jumper.’

“And I have a scientist in my family— my sister is a neuroscientist. That makes me feel much closer to science. My heart is always in science, and I am always interested in scientific matters.”

When the filming was over, Liman and Christensen left their signatures on top of the RNC Superconducting Ring Cyclotron.

Source

Jessica Alba’s AWAKE on DVD This March

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Jessica Alba’s awake that went in and out of theatres it seemed with little fanfare will be on DVD March 11th. No word on specs or art if you can help us out drop us a line. “Awake” is a psychological thriller about a common occurrence called “anesthetic awareness”, a horrifying phenomenon wherein a patient’s (Hayden Christensen) failed anesthesia leaves fully conscious but physically paralyzed during surgery.

The patient’s charming new wife (Jessica Alba) is forced to struggle with her own demons as a terrifying drama unfolds around the couple. Also starring Lena Olin, Terrence Howard, and Sam Robards, the film marks the debut of Joby Harold.

Source: Moviesonline

‘Jumper’ ad leaps between products

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

In 20th Century Fox’s “Jumper,” Hayden Christensen’s character has the ability to teleport anywhere in the world. In the studio’s TV campaign for the actioner, that means into another company’s ad as well.

In a first for a movie promo, Christensen’s character leapt from a 15-second spot for the film to an ad for computer maker HP and then back into another 15-second spot for the pic. Ad aired during Fox’s broadcast of the BCS Championship college football game Monday.

HP’s ad, featuring tennis champ Serena Williams, had already been airing on TV for some time, but new footage of Christensen, shot several weeks ago, was integrated to promote the film.

Brands have long pushed studio pics, looking to tie in with entertainment properties in order to court consumers. But this deal is unusual not only for its format, but also because HP is not a promo partner on “Jumper,” nor does it have its products featured in the film.

ZenithMedia handles media buying for both HP and Fox and paired up the two companies.

The tone and attitude of HP’s ad and target demo also fit well with the audience Fox is looking to draw to the pic, studio said.

“Jumper” is the latest entertainment tie-in for HP, which has created spots around DreamWorks Animation releases such as “Bee Movie” and its “Shrek” franchise and used celebs to tout its wares.

Source: Variety

Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen Want Your Jeans!

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Some of us have good genes and some of us have good jeans. If you just so happen to rock the latter, then Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen WANT YOU!!

Aeropostale has just launched Teens For Jeans, a new campaign to provide clothing for the less fortunate by donating your jeans to local teen homeless shelters. Got a pair of fat (or skinny) jeans that just don’t fit anymore? All you have to do is drop them off at one of the many Aeropostale location and they will be donated on your behalf. Plus, for being so darn sweet, you’ll receive a coupon for 20 percent off your next pair. On top of your generous donation, Aeropostale has made a commitment to donate 10,000 pairs of new jeans to various shelters across the USA.

If you don’t think I’m cool enough to listen to, then let Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen convince you. Talk about two people with good genes and good jeans.

HP Pairs the ‘Jumper’ With Serena

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

NEW YORK Is it a movie trailer or an HP commercial?

The new 90-second “Jumper/Serena”, which played during last night’s Bowl Championship Series title game on Fox, from Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, is both.The spot starts out as traditional trailer for Jumper, a movie about people with the ability to teleport, which is scheduled for release in February. The ad opens with the 20th Century-Fox logo and a deep male voiceover. Hayden Christensen is seen teleporting from and to various locales, including the top of the Empire State Building.

Things get really interesting when Christensen is seen on his sofa watching TV. Up comes Goodby’s “The computer is personal again” spot “Serena,” in which Serena Williams talks about her HP computer and what’s on it. Christensen then teleports into the commercial and seems to walk around and interact with elements of the spot by playing with bits of light that become solid.

“The creative was inherent in the tie-in: The jumper jumping into our commercial was a natural fit,” said Stephen Goldblatt, group creative director, Goodby, San Francisco. “We didn’t have to make any sacrifices. We maintained our commercial and got to use Hayden.”

Fox lent the film crew one of its studios and provided access to Christensen, said David Roman, vp, worldwide marketing communications, HP’s personal service group, which is based in Cupertino, Calif. “It brings more attention to the spot [by combining it with a movie trailer] because it’s different,” he said. “It fits into the whole philosophy of ‘The computer is personal again.’ We like to play with material and it’s a clever use of technology.”

The HP spot/movie trailer hybrid is not the first of its kind. Last July, Crispin Porter + Bogusky turned a trailer for the movie The Bourne Ultimatum into a VW spot. To read more about that effort, visit www.adweek.com/aw/creative/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003618955.

The HP/Fox spot was initially going to play on this year’s Super Bowl, which is on Fox. “We decided it wasn’t right for the Super Bowl. At the time [the spot was being made], we weren’t sure how it would look and if it would be too different,” Roman said.

Source: Ad Week

Want To See JUMPER With Doug Liman, Hayden Christensen And Some Big Brains At MIT!?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

I’ve seen some people who seem to have a real hate-on for this film already, but I dig everything I’ve seen. I think there are some really inventive, unusual ideas on display in all the trailers, stuff we’ve really never seen in an action film. It looks BIG, too, which I like. I’m eager to see it sooner rather than later, and I wish I was going to be at this MIT screening. Still, there’s an opportunity if you’re in the area for you to go, and here’s hoping some of you take advantage of that and write us to tell us how the film is and how the evening goes.

Check out the details below:

Hey Harry,

This is a great opportunity for Bostonians interested in a sneak preview AND meet both the director and the lead actor. If you use this info, please call me zykorex.

MIT LSC presents a free sneak preview of the film JUMPER
(work-in-progress) next week Wednesday, 16 Jan, in 26-100 at 8:00pm.

In the science fiction-action-thriller _Jumper_, a genetic anomaly allows a young man to teleport himself anywhere. He
discovers this gift has existed for centuries and finds himself in a war that has been raging for thousands of years between “Jumpers” and those who have sworn to kill them.

The screening will be followed by a discussion panel about the film and the physics of teleportation featuring lead actor HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN, director DOUG LIMAN, and MIT Physics Professors MAX TEGMARK and EDWARD FARHI.

LSC members (including permpass members) may reserve tickets (for yourself and a guest) by e-mailing me; please try to do it by Tuesday the 15th, but I’ll probably accept them afterwards.

Doors will open at 7pm. Permpass members, Execomm members, and LSC members working the sneak may reserve seats in advance of opening (email your director if you’re interested in working the sneak!).

This is a FREE Sneak Preview, with preferred admission for members of the MIT Community with an MIT ID or brass rat. Tickets will be distributed in Lobby 16 at 6pm on January 16.

Source: Ain’t It Cool News

Jumper - FREE selections from the film and discussion panel - featuring Hayden Christensen

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The screening of selections from the film will be followed by a discussion panel on the film and the physics of teleportation, with leading actor Hayden Christensen, director Doug Liman, and MIT Physics Professors Max Tegmark and Edward Farhi. David Rice (Hayden Christensen) always believed he was perfectly ordinary — until he accidentally discovered he possessed a genetic anomaly that is nothing less than extraordinary. David is a Jumper who can teleport himself to the streets of New York and Tokyo, the ruins of Rome, and the Sahara Desert. He can see twenty sunsets in one night, whisk his girlfriend around the world in the blink of an eye, and grab millions of dollars in a matter of minutes. But David’s global odyssey takes a deadly turn when he finds himself relentlessly pursued by a secret organization sworn to kill Jumpers. Forming an uneasy alliance with another Jumper, David becomes a key player in a war that seems to have no end. As these world-changing events unfold, David begins to discover the secrets and mythology behind his incredible ability.

Category:

films/movies
science/engineering

Location:

26-100

Sponsored by:

LSC

Admission:

Tickets purchased at:
Open to public

For more information:

LSC
E-mail: lsc@mit.edu
URL: http://lsc.mit.edu
Phone: 617-253-3791

Christensen in Neuromancer ?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

There’s a rumour going around that Hayden Christensen is joining the film version of William Gibson’s Neuromancer (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) which we first heard about in May last year.

The word is that Christensen is set to play the character of the hacker Case, the lead of the film.

Last we heard was that Joseph Kahn, the director of Torque, would direct and despite being and independent film the plans were for a US$70 million budget.

The producer Peter Hoffman, who also produced Johnny Mnemonic, previously said that the story would:

“…the project is not just a good sci-fi adventure but a story full of hot topics -issues like artificial intelligence, bio-engineering and alternate theories of immortality will be dealt with dramatically. There’ll be a sort of love interest as well.”

Now I don’t know how that compares with the original story because like JoBlo, where the rumour comes from, I have not read the original. So we need someone who has to tell us how that compares to the actual novel. I know it’s not much to go on just now, but it’s a starting point.

Source: Filmstalker

The Liman Identity

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The name on the doorbell at director Doug Liman’s Tribeca loft is “Bourne J.,” which stands for Jason Bourne, hero of The Bourne Identity, Liman’s first blockbuster. As filmgoers recall, Jason Bourne lived in a fancy bourgeois apartment in Paris’s 8th Arrondissement. The entrance to Bourne J.’s building is cramped and grubby, as is the elevator. The apartment itself is long, narrow, and mostly empty. At one end, there is a desk and a bunch of power tools. At the other, a porch seat is suspended from the ceiling. The walls, which pitch inward, are a dirty white, the windows just dirty. There are two dead potted trees. The movie Bourne had, briefly, a wealthy businessman’s cover. Liman grew up a real rich kid on Fifth Avenue, and now is an A-list Hollywood director. But his cover appears to be that of a fun-loving grad student. “I’m theoretically in the middle of a renovation,” Liman tells me, though he’s lived in this loft eight years.

I find Liman, 42, sitting at a picniclike table he built out of antique pine, the apartment’s only table. He’s at work on Jumper, his $75 million movie about kids who teleport, which will be out next month. Just over his head is a colorful oil painting of his late father, one of many images in the loft of Arthur Liman. In fact, among ice skates, power tools, and dead foliage—there are more deceased plants on the fire escape—I count eleven images of Liman’s father. There’s a smiling photo of him at Yale and two framed front pages from the Times. And the desk belonged to his father. “He was the dominant relationship in my life,” Liman says fiercely. “It was like, ‘Go try anything, do anything.’”

Liman revered his father, a legendary attorney. Many people did. He represented America’s largest companies and also worked for the public good. He ran a legal clinic for the poor and served as lead counsel for the U.S. Senate’s Iran/contra investigation and for the New York State Attica commission.

Arthur might have told his son to try anything, but his own relation to entertainment was through business—he represented Warner Bros., among other companies. “My dad couldn’t connect to my wanting to be a filmmaker. He was very connected in entertainment, and through him I met Steven Spielberg and got rides on his private plane to California. I’d see Spielberg’s people reading scripts. I was like, ‘That’s what I want to be when I grow up.’” But, Liman adds, “my father wasn’t comfortable with it. He thought I should be a studio executive. He wanted me to get married.” And, as Liman knows, he would have wanted his son to do something useful for others, too. Arthur had it both ways: He defended narrow business interests and still the Times lauded his triumphant civic efforts. “Doug was always trying to make his father proud,” says a close friend of the son’s.

Liman is sure that his father would have liked Jumper, an action-adventure film with lots of video-game-like scene changes. “I’m being productive, I’m entertaining,” Liman says. Still, Arthur’s larger accomplishments frame his son’s. “I have the commercial part,” Liman says thoughtfully. “I need to do the public-service part.”

Living up to Dad’s example isn’t the only pressure. Friends lean on him. As one close friend says, “Doug’s moral-ethical relationship to the world is not really activated by the material he’s doing.” Liman has often heard this type of comment; indeed, he’s internalized the criticism. “Jumper,” he tells me, “completes my sellout trilogy.” He’s counting The Bourne Identity and his next film, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

As Jumper is about to hit theaters, Bourne J. appears to be in the midst of a little identity crisis (like Jason Bourne, by the way). “It’s time for me to grow up a little,” Liman tells me. “It’s time to tackle more serious subject matter. I’m feeling that pressure. What am I going to be? I need to reinvent myself.” I ask about future projects. “I’m looking at material related to my father,” he says.

The first time I talked to Doug Liman, a few inches of snow covered the ground. He’d ridden his single-speed bicycle the few blocks to meet me. Talking to Liman about anything can be disconcerting. There are the adult braces, which give him a slight lisp. And there’s his tendency to stare for periods between sentences. Plus he has a habit of looking past you. (“I have trouble making eye contact at first,” he explained to one actor.) Still, when he launched into a story about the film Swingers, he grew animated. His hands shot out, his fingers splayed. Swingers was his indie breakthrough movie, the one where he discovered what he likes to call his “very rebel style.” “It was the one film that was truly not a sellout,” he says, and also the last one his father saw.Liman was his family’s problem child. His two older siblings took conventional high-achiever roads—one is a lawyer, the other a scientist. Liman shuttled among three New York private schools. “I had some work-ethic issues,” he says delicately. He was frustrated and a big kid. “I was a troublemaker,” he says. “For a long time, I didn’t fit in.”

Fortunately, at Brown, Liman found his crowd—“very self-aware dorks,” says Dave Bartis, a college friend and later a business partner.

Liman was the alpha dork. (“I’d follow him anywhere,” says Avram Ludwig, a longtime friend and colleague, “and have.”) At Brown, Liman founded the campus TV station. Just as exciting, in his telling, was getting arrested for stealing a traffic light or lighting a friend’s bed on fire—Liman rigged a pen to detonate firecrackers. Though he wasn’t exactly an athlete, he also led his crew on physical adventures, a dorky action hero. Once, while white-water rafting, he was held underwater by a whirlpool. Another time, off Martha’s Vineyard, he disregarded a Coast Guard warning and sailed into eighteen-foot swells. It was reckless stuff, surprising since, as a friend explains, “Doug is a physical coward. He’s very scared of the things he does. He forces himself to do things. It’s an act of will.”

After Brown, Liman attended USC’s film school, then headed to Hollywood, where his will appeared to fizzle.

“After five, six years,” says Liman, “I didn’t have much to show for it.”

“What are you doing with your days?” asked Arthur, who figured he had a right to know. He helped support his son financially, a sore point with struggling friends. “The whole thing in my life was, ‘Am I going to have to bartend again?’” says Jon Favreau, a Queens College dropout, who wrote Swingers. “Doug knew he would be okay financially. The big thing for him was whether he was going to make a name for himself in movies.” Arthur worried less about his son’s artistic name. “His father stressed about whether he was going to be a bum, literally,” says Ludwig. “I don’t think his father took him seriously as a mature individual.” The father pushed the son to get a job as a studio executive.

“My father felt I was out of control,” Liman says. “We started getting into bigger and bigger fights.”

“I’m not going to help you out anymore,” his father told him.

“Good, cut me off,” replied Liman. “I’ll develop a thicker skin.”

It was around this time, in 1995, that Favreau showed Liman Swingers, a buddy script based loosely on the lives of him and his pals; he hoped to direct and star in it with his friend, actor Vince Vaughn. When Favreau couldn’t raise money, Liman proposed to direct the movie himself—and Favreau decided to let him. Liman knew where to get funding. Arthur Liman hadn’t cut his son off and, always patient, believed he was worth one more shot. He secured $200,000 from a client. “My father was the studio,” says Liman.

Liman’s adventurous streak was well-suited to making a low-budget film. He pulled over on the side of a highway to shoot Vaughn and Favreau, hiding the camera as cops closed in—you can hear the police radio on the soundtrack. He marched into clubs and started filming.

The movie was a critical success at festivals, and Miramax quickly offered $750,000 for the rights. Arthur was ecstatic. Not only was his wayward son a success, but he’d also get his client’s money back. But the younger Liman had by that time met producer Cary Woods, who insisted the movie was worth far more. Arthur convinced his son that producers were untrustworthy, out to take advantage of young directors. Doug drove to Woods’s house to call off the deal. But on entering, he overheard the producer on the phone. He was talking to the head of Universal about this great young director named Doug Liman.

That’s got to be worth something, Liman thought. “I disobeyed my father,” he says. He signed Woods as executive producer.

Liman was told that Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein was ready to increase his offer to $3 million. Liman was instructed not to answer the phone—the longer Weinstein stewed, the better Liman’s negotiating position. Then, a Weinstein underling showed up at Liman’s house, tapped on the window, handed Liman his cell phone. Weinstein was on the line. Liman passed the phone to Woods.

“What will it take to get this deal done?” asked Weinstein.

“Something bold,” said Woods.

The next day, Doug faxed his father: “Miramax $5.5 million.”

Vaughn got scale. While Favreau earned perhaps a few percentage points, Swingers made Liman wealthy in his own right—one reason that Favreau refused to talk to Liman for years. “I made more money out of Swingers than any of these other [projects],” says Liman Swingers did something else. “Doug’s challenge was to find himself,” says Favreau, who’s since reconciled with Liman. “He had to become Doug Liman, not Arthur Liman’s son. He did that directing Swingers.”

Soon after, Liman called his father to say that he’d been named MTV’s Young Director of the Year. His father, by then stricken with cancer, watched the awards ceremony on television. “Maybe our luck is changing,” he told his wife. A few weeks later, he died.

“He got to see that I was going to be okay,” Liman says and chokes back tears. “That’s what all the fights were about.”

Liman had dreamed of making The Bourne Identity since he was a kid reading Robert Ludlum’s book on the beach at his parents’ place in Westhampton. But the rights were out of reach.

“Doug has to be doing something,” says a friend. He shot TV—he directed the pilot for The O.C. He shot Tiger Woods’s iconic Nike commercial, where the star bounces a golf ball on the end of his club. Liman was the second-unit director. On Woods’s lunch break, Liman grabbed a camera and caught Woods in that unscripted moment.

Liman also directed Go, a $3.5 million indie hit about a teenager’s small-time drug deal gone bad. Go’s set was chaotic, a seeming extension of Liman’s personality. As Go star Sarah Polley explains, Liman is “this complete mess who can barely keep track of his possessions.” Liman filmed Go himself while carrying around The Sunset Guide to Basic Home Movie Lighting—“to make sure,” as Liman says. Liman didn’t even know how the movie would end until long after the completion of principal photography—he came up with the final scene in a bar with friends. Not only was Go a critical and commercial success, it reassured him in his make-it-up-as-you-go, very rebel style.

“ ‘Jumper’ completes my sellout trilogy,” says Liman.

Liman eventually secured the rights to Bourne. He’d just learned to fly, and jumped in a plane to meet Ludlum at his home in Montana. It was his first solo flight, and he nearly ran out of fuel on the way home. Controlling the rights gave Liman some leverage, on a vastly greater scale than the first two films.

Still, on Bourne, his filmmaking style nearly ended his career. The weird affect didn’t help. “You freaked me out at first,” Franka Potente, Bourne’s co-star, told him. “You didn’t look at me once.” Liman didn’t really come across as a movie director, a type who takes charge. Liman doesn’t have that switch. “He’s not going to tell anyone not to do anything,” says one colleague. Liman didn’t—or perhaps couldn’t—make decisions until he absolutely had to. “I like to keep my options open,” he says. “I’m known for changing my mind.”

And with Liman, a script is a fluid thing. “I go into a movie sort of saying what it’s not going to be,” he says. Ludwig, who’s worked with Liman since Swingers, says with only a little exaggeration, “He makes a movie, then starts writing the movie.” In Mr. and Mrs. Smith, screenwriter Simon Kinberg says, “I wrote 40 or 50 totally different endings.” (Liman eventually chose the first one.)

“Limania” is how Kinberg refers to the Liman moviemaking process. At the core of Limania is a belief that a film only reveals its nature as you make it. “I’m trying to find the movie during the process, as I did during Smiths. How much of a comedy it was going to be was something I was wrestling with on a daily basis.”

On Bourne, Limania infuriated producers, who were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. “Bourne was overly chaotic; we went into production with a script that was just a mess,” says Saar Klein, Bourne’s editor. Klein later became Liman’s friend, and is now editing Jumper, but he found himself hating Liman during Bourne.

Most maddening, perhaps, Liman seemed immune to the chaos he caused. “He is more comfortable with the chaos than everyone else,” says Klein. “Nothing can embarrass the guy.” Some suggest that Liman’s disruptions are strategic, that he cunningly deploys his disordered persona. “His persona is something he cultivates,” says Favreau. “There’s part of him that is him, part of him he creates. He enjoys the image he projects of being a mad scientist of cinema. It gives him leeway.”

One does notice that Liman’s tales of conflict usually turn out well. “I always get my way,” Liman confides one day, his eyes widening.

Unfortunately, Stacey Snider, the head of Universal when Bourne was being made, didn’t share Liman’s confidence in himself. To the studio, Liman’s process seemed costly, unorganized, and, worse, immature, with some justification—one night he paid the crew overtime to light a forest so he could play paintball. “Universal hated me,” says Liman. “I had an archenemy in the studio. They were trying to shut me down. The producers were bad guys.Relations got so bad that the studio rejected out of hand anything Liman said. For a time, Liman developed a back channel in Matt Damon, who was playing Bourne. “I would be his surrogate because at least I could be heard,” says Damon. That only worked sometimes. One day, Liman woke up realizing he’d missed a shot—a not-uncommon occurrence with the director. “I screwed up,” he told the producers. “I need to redo the scene.”

“We don’t care. You are not doing it again,” Liman was told.

“No is never no for Doug,” explains Ludwig. “He’s not confrontational. He goes around.” Liman loaded four minutes of film, took the camera himself, and surreptitiously reshot the scene. Liman saw it as a rebel moment necessary to assure the film’s quality—he went rogue, in the language of alter ego Bourne J.

The producers viewed it as the ultimate transgression. “That was the huge epic screaming fight, the biggest screaming fight on the set ever,” says Liman, who testily explored auctioning off his director’s credit on eBay.

Bourne was a critical success and a commercial triumph, and announced the Liman aesthetic: smart, stylish genre films that confound their genres. Jason Bourne is James Bond for a new generation—his initials are J.B. for a reason. 007 was an eminently self-assured, technology-enhanced Cold Warrior. Jason Bourne fights the U.S. government—with a ballpoint pen at one juncture. Bond was stuck in his role; Bourne looks for his true self. Other Liman movies also tend to comically overdramatize their energizing metaphors. Jason Bourne must search for his identity, since he’s lost his memory. Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a movie about couples therapy in which the fighting couple is armed with real weapons.

Bourne’s success—it grossed $213 million worldwide—didn’t appease Universal, which banned Liman from directing sequels. “I lost my baby,” he says.

As Liman sees it, Universal executives hoped he’d never direct another movie. Brad Pitt rescued him. He’d been initially cast as Bourne, and he was so impressed that he brought Liman the script for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. “He was told he could pick any director he wanted except me,” says Liman. “So he brought it to me.”

Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a $110 million film funded by Regency, was crazy in its own way. To start, there was media pandemonium over the Brad Pitt–Angelina Jolie romance. Then Limania chewed up budgets and nerves. Liman decided that a hand grenade tossed into Pitt and Jolie’s suburban house didn’t play well onscreen. The explosion, though, had destroyed the set; the studio refused to pay to rebuild it. Liman and Ludwig went off on their own. Like the old indie days, they built part of the set in Liman’s mother’s garage in Rye, financed by Liman. They borrowed a robot from iRobot, makers of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner, which delivered the grenade. Liman shot the scene himself, and it ended up in the movie.

As Jumper is about to hit theaters, Limania has changed. Or, at least, the way it’s perceived has changed. “Almost anything can be justified as a style of filmmaking if it works,” Liman tells me at his loft one day. (And, by Hollywood standards, the Liman process works. “He’s four for four,” says Damon, who adds, “He saved my career with Bourne.”) Liman has surrounded himself with a few central people. Two key players from Mr. and Mrs. Smith, producer Lucas Foster and screenwriter Kinberg, are working on Jumper. Ludwig, his oldest colleague, is, too.

These days, Liman can’t seem to cause trouble even if he wants to. “Now, if I try to do something conventional,” he says, “I’m surrounded by people who say, ‘That’s not your way.’” It’s a pissy complaint, part self-congratulation, but a complaint nonetheless. Now, the producers play nice, even when he veers off script. One day, inching through Times Square gridlock on his way to shoot at the Empire State Building, Liman thought, Wouldn’t it be cool to pick up a piece of the final fight scene here! Hayden Christensen and Jamie Bell, two of the Jumper leads, were in the van with him, their clothing already splattered with what looked like blood. In the film, their climactic battle shifts from the pyramids to the Colosseum to the Empire State Building—they teleport, remember? Why not add Times Square? Liman rushed through tourists, cleared a space on the island in the middle of Times Square. He called action, and Christensen and Bell wrestled over a bomb detonator. It had the feel of the old days, except a producer signed off. He was in the van.

“Suddenly,” Liman tells me, “I’m nostalgic for Bourne.” He filmed Bourne in Europe. “To be a lone filmmaker thousands of miles from home with nobody believing in me, that seems romantic.” Fox, his new studio, dotes on him. “Doug, you pushed this to the limit and beyond,” e-mailed the studio executive in charge. Liman says, “That made me feel a little better. Now the studio is like, ‘What else can we get you?’” Liman acts deflated. “Wow,” he thinks out loud, “I must have grown up and sold out”—that phrase again. Of course, it’s a boast in the form of a complaint, a Liman habit. Still, you can’t stick it to the machine if the machine won’t act insulted.
One day I wait for Liman at his production office across from the South Street Seaport. The place looks like it could be packed up overnight. There are a few cheap desks, a bunch of papers. I notice a shelf of Liman’s favorite candy, which an assistant dutifully restocks. Liman arrives late, as usual. As usual, he wears a T-shirt and jeans, though today he’s also got on a long fitted coat. “You look good,” says an assistant. “What’s wrong?”

Liman is, by now, a respected Hollywood citizen. As Bourne’s box-office figures climbed, he called his friend Sarah Polley with updates. She told him, “I’m going to talk to you in a few months when you’ve cooled down a little, because this is really nauseating.” Liman’s deep attachment to commercial success doesn’t play particularly well with indie sensibilities, like those of many New York filmmakers. “In Hollywood, it’s cool to make movies that make money,” explains Kinberg. “In New York, it’s cool to make movies that don’t make money.” Polley, who’s something like Liman’s indie conscience—she wrote and directed Away From Her—recently invited him to escort her to an awards ceremony for the New York Film Critics Circle. “It’s the closest you’re ever going to get,” she told him.

In Liman’s office, he sits with his sheepdog Jackson—for his birthday, Liman bought him some sheep—and talks about moving beyond his adolescent taste in movies and in lifestyle. “They’re tied together,” he says. People want him to grow up—“My mom, everyone,” he says. Liman has long cherished that very rebel style, but lately he talks as if it’s merely an artifact of birth order—“it’s the style of the youngest child,” he says. Liman talks about wanting a family, kids, which his father wanted for him. He wants to see if his long-term on-again, off-again relationship can work.

And he talks about wanting to make other kinds of movies. “A part of me is a liberal New Yorker involved in politics and certain attitudes about movies,” he says, by which he means that movies should be more than entertainment. “I kind of lost my indie credibility over Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” he says. “I know I haven’t lost it. I just have to go make an independent movie. I just have to do it. Just for me.”

Polley has suggested he examine “his fascination with what his dad was able to achieve,” which sometimes strikes Liman as a good idea, too. “I may do something on prison reform,” he says.

And yet Liman recently sold his next project, based on a script he wrote ten years ago with his cousin John Hamburg about a private expedition to the moon. “Sometimes I get these ideas in my head and they don’t die,” he says. None other than Stacey Snider, now at DreamWorks, bought it. “People say that’s a sellout [to let Snider buy it],” Liman tells me. Apparently, he agreed for a time. “I had only pitched it to her so I could then say no,” he says. “But she was so unbelievably aggressive and supportive, all the other stuff evaporated. It’s hard for me to hold grudges.”

Liman tells me he has high hopes for the moon-shot project. “It’s not part of the sellout,” he says at one point. “Its aspirations are loftier. When I wrote it, it was a frivolous movie. Now the planet is in crisis. It’s wrestling with the dominant social issue facing us today, overpopulation.” He was going to do good, have it both ways, like his father. Some part of this is true, no doubt. But as Liman knows, the new movie will have a huge budget, an unrealistic premise, an escapist plot, a ton of special effects, and grand commercial expectations. It’s exactly the type of film Liman can do like few others. Adventure movies excite Liman. And so he changes his tune—Limania in action. “All this talking about [worthy stuff],” he says, “it goes out the window when I have a story I want to tell.” Liman likes being the big kid living out his fantasy life onscreen and off. He lets me know he’s got to go. There are some cool special effects to review for Jumper. And he’s got an idea about flying his plane to the Vineyard, where he keeps his boat. I’m not really in a rush to grow up, he says.

Source: NY Mag

MIT hosts teleport tete-a-tete with ‘Star’ star

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

“Star Wars” heartthrob Hayden Christensen Jumped over to MIT in Cambridge last night to discuss the science behind his new sci-fi thriller “Jumper” with a panel of experts.

MIT physicists Dr. Edward Farhi and Dr. Max Tegmark joined Christensen and director Doug Liman of “The Bourne Identity” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” fame, to discuss the real-world knowledge and research in the branch of physics that deals with teleportation and quantum mechanics.

“Transporting people isn’t too far off,” the sci-fi stud told the Track while being hounded by a pack of Trekkie nerds. “They’ve already transported a light photon. And to think a few years back people didn’t think TV was possible.”

In the flick, opening Valentine’s Day, Christensen plays a guy who discovers he can teleport himself anywhere. The good news is he can go to Nevis at the drop of a hat. The bad, he finds out he’s in the middle of a war that has been raging for thousands of years between “Jumpers” and those who have sworn to kill them.

So, where would you like to be teleported, Hayden?

“Home, it’s always good to be home,” the Canadian said with a grin.

Christensen said don’t think of him just as a sci-fi kinda guy.

“I do whatever appeals to me, but I have two films coming out that have nothing to do with science fiction,” he said. “It will be a nice change.”

Source: Boston Herald

The scientists and the stars

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

In his new movie, “Jumper,” Hayden Christensen plays a man who can teleport himself anywhere in the world. But yesterday the movie star had to opt for more conventional transportation to make it to MIT, where he and “Jumper” director Doug Liman joined physicists Max Tegmark and Edward Farhi to talk about the sci-fi film. “If I could really be anywhere right now, I’d be at home,” said Christensen complaining about the cold despite being a native of Canada. Best known for his role in the “Star Wars” prequel pics, Christensen said he’s a fan of science fiction. “It’s all about the story for me, for sure,” the 26-year-old actor said. “But I’m big on the idea that sci-fi is the birthplace of what’s coming next.” Asked about his costar Rachel Bilson, who happens to be his current girlfriend, Christensen wouldn’t bite. “She’s really great,” he said smiling. “I’m a big fan of hers.” If last night’s event felt more like a tutorial than a movie premiere, that’s because it was. Only a few scenes of the film were shown, with most of the evening devoted to a discussion of the science of teleporting. “Don’t forget we’re professional scientists,” said Farhi. “So when we go to a movie we’re not too interested in evaluating the scientific accuracy of it.” Liman, who directed Matt Damon in the first “Bourne” film, said he was struck by the honesty of the “Jumper” script. “The ability to teleport, you’ve seen in a million movies, but here was an 18-year-old kid using it to rob banks that felt just so authentic to me,” said Liman. “Jumper,” which also costars Diane Lane and Samuel L. Jackson, opens Feb. 14.

Source: www.boston.com

“Hayden Christensen Comes to MIT, Looks Pretty”

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Tonight LSC hosted a pretty exciting event - a screening of a few selections from the upcoming movie “Jumper”, as well as a discussion panel including Hayden Christensen, director Doug Liman (who also directed “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and “The Bourne Identity” trilogy), and MIT physics professors Edward Farhi and Max Tegmark. It’s not every day that we get former Darth Vaders up on the stage at 26-100, so there was a pretty sizable crowd lining up all the way out to the building 56 Athena cluster, including local press and MIT alums.And so, because it’d be faster and more interesting and also because I don’t remember exactly what was said, I give you HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN AT MIT IN 15 MINUTES! (and pictures.)

LSC GUY: Hello, and on behalf of LSC, thank you for coming to this free screening of Jumper! Speaking of Jumper, I’m wearing a blue sweater. And now, here to talk about his movie, Doug Liman.

DOUG LIMAN: Hello, my name is Doug Liman and this is my movie. These clips are from a week ago, which is like a year in Hollywood time, so it’s like going back in time for me. And also, I didn’t get to pick them - Fox did. Okay, here we go.

CLIP 1: (DAVEY, the movie’s main character, discovers he can teleport. Joke about a library.)

AUDIENCE: HAHAHAHA!

DL: And this clip is why I fell in love with the movie.

CLIP 2: (DAVEY robs a bank. Lots of money.)

DL: And this clip is where we see Hayden.

FEMALE AUDIENCE: Woo!

CLIP 3: (HAYDEN gets beaten to a pulp by SAMUEL L. JACKSON)

MALE AND FEMALE AUDIENCE: WOO!

DL: And this is the clip where we see another one of the jumpers, who is played by Jamie Bell.

HALF OF THE AUDIENCE: Hey, wasn’t he Billy Elliott?

OTHER HALF OF AUDIENCE: Ohhh yeah.

DL: Some of you thought you were going to come see the whole movie tonight, but we actually just finished it last night, so uh, sorry, that’s pretty much it. I have no idea how that rumor got out. Uh, now the guy you probably actually came to see.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN: Hi, I’m Hayden Christensen.

LSC GUY: OKAY! Now we’re going to have a discussion panel!

HC: Oh, uh, okay.

LSC GUY: Talking about the physics of teleportation tonight - Professor Edward Farhi!

AUDIENCE: WOO!!! (more cheering and applause than for HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN)

LSC GUY: And Professor Max Tegmark!

AUDIENCE: WOO!!! (more cheering and applause than for HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN)

EDWARD FARHI: Hey, this is like teaching 8.01 all over again.

AUDIENCE: Guhhh.

EF: Wow, major Debbie Downer. Anyway, I’m going to talk about quantum teleportation. But in order to do that, I have to teach you quantum mechanics. It’ll just take a minute.

SOME FRESHMAN COURSE 8 MAJOR: Oh good, so I don’t have to take 8.05 now.EF: So you take an entangled pair of electrons, put each one at point A and point B, and put the electron you want to teleport at point A. Then you take a “measurement function” which collapses the wave function of the electrons, which will give you any number 1-4. You pass that information through conventional methods, like radio or light, to point B, and “you do some quantum thingy” (his words) depending on the quantum number to the electron at point B, which will result in the electron having transported over there. So.. basically to do this with Hayden, from Earth to Mars, you’d have to destroy him on Earth. (This explanation brought to you with major help from The Angela Monster.)

HC and DL: K.

MAX TEGMARK: So now I’m going to talk a little more about classical teleportation - which isn’t necessarily teleportation, per se, but is more like transporting someone from point A to B very quickly. But I’m going to do it with a power point that isn’t always grammatically correct, and features a lot of pictures of Hayden Christensen in various poses. MT: You would never be able to do what Eddy said, because there would be a LOT of energy required. So, say you wanted to classically teleport someone from here to another solar system. The problem with doing it that way is that once you get there, someone would’ve built a better and faster approach to do it. So you’d get there and it’d be like, uhh, who’s that guy? LSC GUY: Let’s open up the panel to questions!

MIT STUDENT: Physics question!

EF: Physics answer!

DL: Hahaha!

MALE MIT STUDENT: This question is for Doug Liman. How much effort do you put in trying to stay true to real-world science?

DL: I do a lot of research for my movies. Like I talked to a real world assassin when I was doing the Bourne movies. I try to still think of the science of my movies, you know, like, if Hayden’s sitting over here, and you teleport him, the air should like collapse in, so much so that there might be condensation created..

MT: Mmm. Yeah.

EF: Actually, I have a question for you guys (Liman and Hayden Christensen). What do you think we, as scientists, can do for Hollywood?

HC: Go see Jumper. And then, you know, get on it. Make it happen.

MALE MIT STUDENT 2: This question’s for Hayden - I was just wondering what you were expecting when you agreed to come talk to us at MIT tonight..

AUDIENCE and HC: HAHAHHA

MALE MIT STUDENT 2: Like, were you expecting just normal kids, or did you think we’d be like (nerd voice) “huhhh, flux capacitors”?

AUDIENCE and HC: HAHAHAHAH

HC: Uhh.. I guess I wasn’t expecting you guys to be such a lively group.. but ah, no.. this is cool.

OTHER MIT STUDENTS: Other various physics and/or film related questions!

PANEL: Other various physics and/or film related answers!

FEMALE MIT STUDENT: This question is for Hayden. My best friend is recently single; would you ever consider dating an MIT girl?

HC: Uh- yeahhhh- no- I…

LSC GUY: And that’s it for tonight! Make sure to come to our other LSC events coming up, like Hotel Rwanda this weekend co-hosted by MIT’s STAND..

STEPH SHIM: I LOVE YOU HAYDEN!!!

HC: (head nod) And that’s pretty much how it went. I didn’t get to talk to, touch, or even really see Hayden because I was in the back row, but here is a pretty good picture of the top of Hayden Christensen’s head that I rushed the stage for just for this blog entry. Tomorrow, it’s back to Matlabbing and UROPing, but tonight, JUST FOR TONIGHT, I got to photograph the top of Hayden Christensen’s head. And also, learn the mechanics behind quantum teleportation. Not bad for a Wednesday night!

Source:MIT Admissions

Hayden Christensen at MIT

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Tonight Hayden Christensen and director Doug Liman were at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to screen some scenes from Jumper, hosted by the Lecture Series Committee. Liman introduced four clips and talked a little about the creation of the movie, claiming he finished the final cut of the film at 4am this morning before flying out from L.A.

Also present were two professors from the physics department, Max Tegmark and Edward Farhi, who explained that the teleportation in the movie was not scientifically possible.

Afterwards there was a Q&A session, during which Christensen dodged questions about possibly dating an MIT girl and going to a local party, and also whether he expected extreme nerds or normal people before coming to campus. And then a horde of fangirls mobbed Christensen before a combination of Fox executives, press people, and one security dude made them back off and took both Christensen and Liman to do more interviews backstage.

Also, Doug Liman was nice enough to autograph my copy of Bourne Identity.

Teleportation: The leap from fact to fiction in new movie Jumper

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

January 17, 2022 (Computerworld)
Actor Christensen, of Star Wars fame, and director Liman discuss teleportation with MIT professors
- Fact met fiction last night when a Hollywood actor and director sat down with two MIT physicists to compare the reality of teleportation to the special-effects version in the upcoming movie Jumper.

“It’s a little less exotic than what you see in the movie,” said Edward Farhi, director of the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT. “Teleportation has been done, moving a single proton over two miles. [But] teleporting a person? That is pretty far down the line. The quantum state of a living creature is pretty formidable. That is just not in the foreseeable future.”

It is, however, in the foreseeable future in the Hollywood world of lights and special effects. Jumper, which is scheduled to be released on Feb. 14, is a sci-fi thriller about a man, played by Hayden Christensen, who discovers he has the ability to teleport himself anywhere, anytime. There’s no old-fashioned Star Trek-like “Beam me up, Scottie” in this movie. The character simply wills himself to “jump” from one place to another.

Of course, nothing can be that easy in an action-adventure thriller. Christensen’s character discovers that he’s not the only Jumper alive and that there’s a secret organization of people sworn to kill all Jumpers because they believe the teleporters’ ability makes them a danger to everyone else. Actor Samuel L. Jackson plays the man in charge of tracking down and killing the Jumpers.

While the movie, directed by Doug Liman, may have taken the reality of teleportation and spiced it up quite a bit, Christensen, who gained fame and heart-throb status playing Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episodes II and II, told Computerworld that it’s an alluring fantasy.

“I’ve always been a sci-fi fan. I like things that stimulate the imagination,” he said before clips of the movie were screened for the MIT audience. “Obviously, I think there’s great appeal to be able to be where you want, whenever you want. You could escape anything you need to escape.”

And what situation would he like to teleport out of the most? “I might be home right now,” he said, laughing. “Just kidding. Just kidding. Well, I’d at least like to be somewhere warm.”
Hayden Christensen and Doug Liman
Doug Liman, left, director of the film Jumper, and Hayden Christensen, the film’s star, discuss the science of teleportation at MIT. Photo by Sharon Gaudin.

Liman, who joked about doubting his decision to appear at MIT, where the technology in his movie could be ripped apart, said he tried to find a source of reality in the science behind teleportation. “When we started Jumper, I got hooked up with a professor at the University of Toronto,” said Liman, who traveled to 14 countries and 20 cities to make the movie. “He basically threw me out of his office. He didn’t have much of a sense of humor about what we were doing.”

The science still intrigues the director, who said he would recommend that would-be directors go to a school like MIT instead of to film school. “Sitting here listening to your professors, I got five movie ideas in the bathroom and two ideas for sequels,” said Liman. “This is where great ideas for films are born, so this is far more important than film school.”

And the science obviously intrigues the professors and students at MIT, which may be one of the few places where professors get the same raucous hoots, foot stomping and cheers as a Hollywood star and a famed director. Farhi and Max Tegmark, an associate professor of physics at MIT, can separate fact from fiction when it comes to wormholes, time travel and teleportation.

Quantum teleportation, Farhi explained to the audience, entails destroying something in its original place and re-creating it somewhere else. To do this with an electron, for instance, scientists would need to have another electron, basically a mate, in place where they wanted the first electron to appear. That second electron would receive the essence of the first electron.

“Quantum teleportation has occurred in the laboratory,” Farhi added. “They’ve moved single particles over two miles, but there is no instantaneous transportation. You could just pick it up and move it much more easily, but that would be less exotic … and cheaper.”

Right now, Fahri said, scientists are still experimenting with teleporting single protons or electrons. The next step would be to teleport a more complex object, like an atom. When that might happen, the theorist just isn’t sure.

“I don’t think distance will be the problem,” he said. “The issue will be the size of the object.”

Fahri also said he would have no interest in being able to teleport like the character in Jumper, even if it were possible.

“No. No. Once you destroy the quantum state of the object, the thing is gone,” he explained. “If you mess up the teleportation, then you’re a goner.”

Tegmark noted that there is a major benefit to sci-fi movies like Jumper.

“People watch movies and get all fired up to be scientists,” he said. “Sometimes I watch sci-fi and it raises interesting questions. When you walk up to a door and it automatically opens, it’s because someone watched Star Trek. … Sci-fi can get kids interested in learning about science.”
Source of this article :

Teleportation gets reel in new Sci-Fi movie “Jumper”

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

“I flew out from L.A. this morning with Hayden Christensen and we are very excited to be here with the MIT professors and to have some of the science of the film ripped apart. I am someone that does not shy away from a challenge in my career,” Liman said. “Hayden and I were cramming the entire way out here over quantum physics realizing we should have read it before we started making the film. We might not have made the film if we knew quite how impossible these guys are going to tell us teleportation could be.”
Christensen — who gets to do in the new movie what millions of sci-fi fans have longed to do — joined Liman on a panel with MIT physicists Dr. Edward Farhi and Dr. Max Tegmark to discuss the teleportation depicted in the film and the science that is reality today. The panel sat before a slew of engaged MIT students ready to discredit any notion that Christensen’s portrayed ability to will himself from beneath the icy waters of an Ann Arbor, Mich., lake to within the stacks of the local library is anything more than good acting and advanced special effects.

“I wasn’t expecting such a lively group,” Christensen told attendees at the MIT event, which showcased four clips from the film set to open next month. Yet Liman said he anticipated the excitement around the science of teleportation because it drew him to make the film and to travel to 14 countries and 20 cities to lend credibility to the locations to which Christensen jumped.

Liman, who also directed “The Bourne Identity,” explained how he realized while he could train Matt Damon to fight like an assassin, he would not be able to get Christensen up to speed on teleportation abilities. But that didn’t stop him from wanting to make the film and to add as much science to the process as he could.
“There is a tendency in Hollywood to want to dumb topics down for the audience,” Liman said. But he visited a physics expert — who shunned his concept immediately — to try to make the impossible act of complete human teleportation seem plausible enough for the audience to suspend reality and accept that Christensen’s character and others in the film were able to teleport themselves.
“I wanted to figure out what it would look like if someone is in a chair and then suddenly not in a chair. I took a very scientific approach” by considering objects moving and climate conditions in the environment, Liman said, amid uproarious laughter from the audience. He then added good-naturedly, “When I speak other places I sound very scientific.”

Admittedly Liman didn’t have much of a chance of coming off knowledgeable about science in the company of Farhi and Tegmark, who separately discussed in detail the facts around teleportation that have their roots in quantum mechanics.

To start, Farhi explained that businesses have been able to teleport a single quantum particle — such as an electron or a photon — in laboratories over fiber-optic cable up to a distance of 2 miles. The process requires three particles, two of which could be an entangled pair of electrons. In its simplest explanation, the two electrons must be split and a third particle would destroy and copy the information from one electron and then send that data in a signal to the other electron, which in essence would be teleportation of the first electron, he explained. He added that it is not possible to send the signal over in less time than the distance divided by the speed of light.

“In quantum teleportation, there is no instantaneous transport of information. Everything is nice and consistent with the laws of relatively and quantum mechanics … which can be very strange but also happened to be true,” Farhi said.

Tegmark continued with a presentation that provided great detail as to why the world would not want to teleport Christensen; many reasons would be to prevent harm to the Canadian actor. But he also commented on the importance of the sci-fi genre of films driving scientific research to solve many of the questions raised by the creator’s imagination. While Liman said he came up with multiple movie ideas simply from listening to the physicists talk, Tegmark argued scientists do the same with sci-fi films.
“The hard part is finding the right question to ask, it’s not always the answer,” he said. And when asked by the audience the hard question that was bound to come up with Christensen in attendance — which sci-fi film depicts a science or technology more likely to become reality: Star Wars’ lightsabers or Jumper’s teleportation? — the MIT experts had to answer with the former.
“The lightsaber, but the hard part is getting the laser beam to stop,” Tegmark said.

And if any question remained, they both reiterated that human teleportation is not possible. But there is a practical application to the science of teleportation today: secure key distribution. Farhi explained that by sending quantum particles down channels, companies can ensure 100% secure communications and detect “eavesdropping.”

“Someday it could be possible to teleport millions of particles, they can teleport a single photon today,” he said.

Hollywood Jumps to MIT

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

At an MIT event the director and star of the film Jumper team up with physicists to discuss the science and fiction of teleportation.

Most people understand that MIT is not your average place. But at a special media panel held there last night some of the differences really stood out.

After all, there aren’t that many other places where two renowned physicists would receive as much applause, cheers and enthusiasm as successful Hollywood director Doug Liman (who has directed major hits such as Swingers and The Bourne Identity) and major movie star Hayden Christensen (aka Anakin Skywalker aka Darth freaking Vader!).

But what was the purpose of this strange panel? Well, Liman and Christensen were there to talk about the upcoming science fiction film Jumper (based on the 1992 novel by Steven Gould) and for the first time show extended clips of the film to a live audience. But why the physicists?

Well, the plot of Jumper centers around a young man who discovers that he has a genetic trait that makes it possible for him to teleport himself to anyplace he can see, knows well or that he sees in a photograph.

So to help ground the idea of teleportation in some hard science, the panel included Dr. Edward Farhi and Dr. Max Tegmark, both MIT professors and esteemed physicists.

During the panel Farhi and Tegmark covered a lot of ground in potential areas where teleportation could be theoretically possible, ranging everywhere from worm holes to interstellar travel to time travel.

MIT Jumper Panel
However, one of the more interesting parts of the discussion covered experiments where teleportation has actually occurred, namely experiments where scientists have been able to take a single nanoparticle and transport it over distance.

The details of this were fascinating (covering things such as quantum entanglement and the phenomenon that Einstein called spooky action at a distance). However, as a technology journalist I was also surprised by the practical implications of this discussion and technology, as much of this technology is also the basis of quantum computing.

Quantum computing is pretty much the ultimate emerging technology, since once it finally emerges it will radically change computing as we know it, providing exponentially greater computing power than possible today and making it possible to solve technological problems that are impossible to solve using current technology.

That was the practical side of the discussion. What about the fictional ability of Christensen’s character to teleport himself anywhere in the world?

Well, while the physicists were nice to the film makers and had some fun with working on possible teleportation scenarios for Christensen, they pretty much shot down the idea of any large teleportation (especially of humans) happening anytime soon.

One telling point came in answer to an audience member question on what we would see first, teleportation of humans as seen in the film Jumper or light sabers and Death Stars like in Star Wars. Without hesitating the physicists said we would see light sabers and Death Stars before we saw teleportation (though to be honest the geek part of me half expected Christensen to stand up and say to the physicists “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”)

Of course, most people don’t go to action packed science fiction movies to debate the actual science portrayed in the movie. And based on the clips shown at the event (and on Liman’s track record as a film maker), Jumper looks like it will fill the key Hollywood science requirements of action and excitement.

Jumper Applies Showbiz Science to Teleportation. Beam Us Up!

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

From The Fly to the Ninja Turtles, Hollywood has consistently deployed teleportation to blip a story line forward. The result typically ends up closer to laughable fiction than plausible science. With Jumper, however, director and self-proclaimed physics geek Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) swears his sci-fi thriller is dead-on — or as good as it gets, since real teleportation technology isn’t exactly up to speed. Out in February, his adaptation of Steven Gould’s novel stars Hayden Christensen as a slacker who discovers he can beam around via brainpower. Samuel L. Jackson plays a secret agent hot on his trail. (Think Enemy of the Quantum State: Anakin vs. Windu.) “It’s not like Star Trek, where you see someone break into a million particles and reconstitute,” Liman says. “The jump happens between two frames, connecting two different environments for a split second.”

So did Hollywood get it right this time? Not so much, says H. Jeff Kimble, a Caltech physicist. Since teleportation is a transfer of quantum states, not particles, “you’re not actually sending atoms,” he says. “You’re only sending information about their quantum state.” Which means it’s more like a Xerox machine than a wormhole, with no movement or connection across space and time. (You hear that, Heroes?) In real life, only a beam of light has been, er, beamed a short distance (about 3 feet) but that, Kimble says, “is a set of completely different physics,” and Hollywood-style teleportation is just not possible. But don’t tell Liman. With hopes for a Jumper trilogy, he has already outlined a second film involving — great Scotty! — researchers teleporting molecules in a lab. OK, physics may not be his strongest suit, but Liman is obviously expert in the science of sequels.

Match the teleportation tip with its film or TV show source (answers below).

1 Squinting your eyes improves your ability to jump through time and space exponentially.
2 Don’t trust Ziggy Stardust to build a decent transport machine.
3 Before dissolving into a million particles — close the damn window.
4 It may scramble your brain, but teleporting is a lot safer than riding shotgun in a starship.
5 Never be the first to try out a brand-spankin’-new teleporter.
6 Even though you’re not actually shooting up through the teleportation machine, look up anyway.
7 Screw phasers — teleportation is the only foolproof method of escaping aliens.
A Stargate
B The Prestige
C Spaceballs
D The Fly
E Heroes
F Star Trek

It’s not just a Job, it’s an Adventure

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

One way to see the world is to make movies. While shooting “Jumper,” director Doug Liman says he filmed actor Hayden Christensen (below) in more than a dozen countries. One of the last locations, he told MIT students this week, was last September in the surf near Gay Head on Martha’s Vineyard. Liman said he and Christensen shot the scene themselves without any crew. Don’t blink or you might miss it in the movie. The whole scene lasts about 7 seconds. The movie opens Feb. 14, but Liman has arranged a special free screening at MIT the night before.

Teleportation: The leap from fact to fiction in a new movie

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Fact met fiction Wednesday when a Hollywood actor and director sat down with two MIT physicists to compare the reality of teleportation to the special effects version in the upcoming movie, Jumper.

“It’s a little less exotic than what you see in the movie,” said Edward Farhi, director of the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT. “Teleportation has been done, moving a single proton over two miles. [But] teleporting a person? That is pretty far down the line. The quantum state of a living creature is pretty formidable. That is just not in the foreseeable future.”

It is, however, in the foreseeable future in the Hollywood world of lights and special effects. Jumper, which is scheduled to be released on Feb. 14, is a sci-fi thriller about a man, played by Hayden Christensen, who discovers he has the ability to teleport himself anywhere and at anytime. There’s no old-fashioned Star Trek-like “Beam me up, Scottie” in this movie. The character simply wills himself to “jump” from one place to another.

Of course, nothing can be that easy in an action-adventure thriller. Christensen’s character discovers that he’s not the only Jumper alive and that there’s a secret organization of people sworn to kill all Jumpers because they believe the teleporters’ ability makes them a danger to everyone else. Actor Samuel L. Jackson plays the man in charge of tracking down, and killing, the Jumpers.

While the movie, directed by Doug Liman, may have taken the reality of teleportation and spiced it up quite a bit, Christensen, who gained fame and heart-throb status playing Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episodes II and II, told Computerworld that it’s an alluring fantasy.

“I’ve always been a sci-fi fan. I like things that stimulate the imagination,” he said before clips of the movie were screened for the MIT audience. “Obviously, I think there’s great appeal to be able to be where you want, whenever you want. You could escape anything you need to escape.”

And what situation would he like to teleport out of the most? “I might be home right now,” he said, laughing. “Just kidding. Just kidding. Well, I’d at least like to be somewhere warm.”

Liman, who joked about doubting his decision to go to MIT where the technology in his movie could be ripped apart, said he tried to find a source of reality in the science behind teleportation. “When we started Jumper, I got hooked up with a professor at the University of Toronto,” said Liman, who traveled to 14 countries and 20 cities to make the movie. “He basically threw me out of his office. He didn’t have much of a sense of humor about what we were doing.”

The science still intrigues the director, who said he would recommend that would-be directors go to a school like MIT instead of film school. “Sitting here listening to your professors, I got five movie ideas in the bathroom and two ideas for sequels,” said Liman. “This is where great ideas for films are born, so this is far more important than film school.”

And the science obviously intrigues the professors and students at MIT, which may be one of the few places where professors get the same raucous hoots, foot stomping and cheers as the Hollywood star and a famed director. Farhi and Max Tegmark, an associate professor of physics at MIT, are the ones to separate fact from fiction when it comes to worm holes, time travel and teleportation. Quantum teleportation, Farhi explained to the audience, entails destroying something in its original place and recreating it somewhere else. To do this with an electron, for instance, scientists would need to have another electron, basically a mate, in place where they want the first electron to appear. That second electron would receive the essence of the first electron.

“Quantum teleportation has occurred in the laboratory,” he added. “They’ve moved single particles over two miles, but there is no instantaneous transportation. You could just pick it up and move it much more easily, but that would be less exotic … and cheaper.”

Right now, Fahri said scientists are still experimenting with teleporting single protons or electrons. The next step would be to teleport a more complex object, like an atom. When that might happen, the theorist just isn’t sure.

“I don’t think distance will be the problem,” he noted. “The issue will be the size of the object.”

And Fahri also said he would have no interest in being able to teleport like the character in Jumper, even if it was possible.

“No. No. Once you destroy the quantum state of the object, the thing is gone,” he explained. “If you mess up the teleportation, then you’re a goner.”

Fahri’s colleague Tegmark said there is a major benefit, though, to sci-fi movies like Jumper.

“People watch movies and get all fired up to be scientists,” he said. “Sometimes I watch sci-fi and it raises interesting questions. When you walk up to a door and it automatically opens, it’s because someone watched Star Trek… Sci-fi can get kids interested in learning about science.

JUMPER at M.I.T. Special Event!

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

20th Century Fox held a special presentation at M.I.T. for JUMPER starring Hayden Christensen.

Funniest thing…while I was getting these pics ready to post and simultaneously watching American Dad on Adult Swim, they had a funny little dialogue about JUMPER. It went like this,

Anyone gonna see that new movie JUMPER? You know the one where Darth Vader can ski and teleport? But look out Anakin, Mace Windu has a new hair cut and he’s gonna kill you!

I was like, whoa coincidence and very funny. I was giggling and had to jot it down to share. Adult Swim kills me, it’s great.

Ok, well on with what this was originally about. JUMPER had a special presentation at M.I.T., Hayden Christensen and director Doug Liman were in attendance.