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Bruin Box Office: UCLA Alumni Show Their Stuff in Summer Films

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By Mary Daily

Published May 30, 2013 8:00 AM


As you make the rounds of new movies this season -- from a documentary about WikiLeaks to the adventures of Iron Man-- look for some UCLA names prominently displayed in the credits.

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Iron Man 3, which drew almost $700 million in ticket sales in its first 10 days, was directed and co-written by Shane Black '83. Black, who made his directorial debut in 2005's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, has spent most of his career screenwriting a list of pictures that includes Lethal Weapon 1 and 2, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight (which he also produced) and Last Action Hero. The Pittsburgh native also has acted in a handful of films including Predator. Iron Man 3 includes one of Black's trademarks: a Christmas theme. He says he associates the holiday "with a certain kind of American way of life."

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, written and directed by Alex Gibney, traces what happened when WikiLeaks published sensitive documents from anonymous sources and an Army private seized the opportunity to air the military's dirty laundry. It's by no means Gibney's first foray into abuses of power. His previous films include Casino Jack and the United States of Money about Jack Abramoff, Client 9 about the fall of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, and the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side about the use of torture in the U.S. war on terror.

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The Lone Ranger is the latest work of Academy Award-winning director Gore Verbinski '87. Once again, he's teamed up with Johnny Depp. Verbinski's most recent previous film was his first animated picture, the smash hit Rango, which also starred Depp and won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Earlier he directed the first three Pirates of the Caribbean, with Depp and Keira Knightley.

Fast and Furious 6 is director Justin Lin's fourth film in this franchise. Lin '95, who was born in Taiwan, became a fan of Fast and Furious when he saw the first one while a directing student, but he didn't like the way it portrayed Asian characters. After he became successful with a number of indie films, he was hired to direct the third in the franchise, Tokyo Drift. He began then to eliminate such stereotypes as Asians standing next to Buddha statues or pagodas or being bad guys in Chinatown.

Star Trek Into Darkness stars actor Peter Weller, best known for Robocop and Buckaroo Banzai, who's also completing a UCLA Ph.D. in art history. Read more at http://ucla.in/16xb3GW.

See you at the movies!

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