Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael has forgiven theatre boss Sir Peter Hall for heckling her during a play after he wrote a grovelling letter of apology. The director admitted he was mortified after shouting out to Carmichael in 2012 when she was onstage in London's West End in Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.
Hall was heard calling out, "Stop, stop, stop! It doesn't work and you don't work. It is not good enough. I could be at home watching TV", and the incident sparked major embarrassment for the theatre mogul when he later admitted he had drifted off to sleep and awoke in a confused state.
Now Carmichael insists she has forgiven Hall after he penned her a personal note apologising for his behaviour.
She tells British magazine Event, "Genuinely when I was first told my reaction was: 'I can't believe he came to see my play.' He's a legend. I've read his books and seen his productions. He's old. He fell asleep. But it didn't ruin things, we kept going with the show."
After receiving the written apology from Hall, Carmichael wrote back: "Of course. Don't worry about it. I am so thrilled you were there."
Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill are among the star-studded musicians who have been tapped to pay homage to the Everly Brothers at an upcoming tribute concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In July (14), officials at the Cleveland, Ohio music Mecca announced that the sibling duo will be honoured as part of the organisation's 19th annual Music Masters series on 25 October (14).
Singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell will host the event, with acclaimed musicians Harris, Gill, Graham Nash, the Secret Sisters, Peter Asher and Shelby Lynne among the performers set to take to the stage.
Surviving member Don Everly will be present for the gig, and the concert has been billed as "the first major tribute in which the family will participate since Phil's passing".
Phil Everly died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in January (14), and on the eve of the Grammy Awards on 25 January (14), Phil's widow Patti, quickly organised a tribute concert at the Troubadour venue in Los Angeles, where Crowell was joined by Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Joe Henry, Jim Lauderdale, the Milk Carton Kids.
The Everly Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 1986.
Quadriplegic actor Danny Murphy has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 59. The Boston, Massachusetts native was left wheelchair-bound at 19 after a tragic diving accident in 1974, but he refused to let the injury halt his dreams and he obtained a degree in Criminal Justice, before pursuing a career in corporate insurance and working with U.S. lawmakers to develop the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Murphy was handed his first movie role at the age of 40 by his childhood pal Peter Farrelly in 1996 comedy Kingpin, and he was subsequently cast in a string of Farrelly Brothers films, including Me, Myself & Irene, Shallow Hal, Hall Pass and There's Something About Mary.
Murphy also founded the Blue Zone Productions theatre company, which features performers with disabilities.
Rocker Ian Gillan is planning to pull a Kiss if Deep Purple ever get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - because he refuses to hit the stage with former guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. KISS founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons pulled out of a Hall of Fame set in April (14) after they were informed that current bandmates Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer would not be honoured alongside the pair and former colleagues Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, and singer Gillan insists he'll follow their example if Blackmore's replacement, Steve Morse, isn't included in what many fans think is a long overdue induction.
Gillan says, "It would be unconscionable to think about bringing Ritchie in.
"I don’t have an issue with Ritchie, nor does anyone. I’ve been in touch with Ritchie recently and everything’s cool, so there’s no bitter, personal problem. We’re too old for that and everything’s in the past, but no. That would be out of the question.
"This is the longest that any lineup has ever been together in this band."
Blackmore left Deep Purple in 1993 and Morse has been the band's guitarist ever since.
Pioneering country guitarist Velma Smith has died at the age of 87. The musician passed away on Thursday (31Jul14) in Madison, Tennessee.
Smith began performing on a local Kentucky radio station with her sister Mildred at the age of 12 and later went on to play with the likes of Ernest Tubb, Carl Smith and Roy Acuff.
However, it wasn't until the late 1950s that her career really took off as she became the first female rhythm guitar player to perform on records cut in Nashville, Tennessee.
She worked with artists such as Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings and Ray Price and her song credits include Hank Locklin's Please Help Me, I'm Falling in 1960 and Skeeter Davis' The End of the World in 1962.
She was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville in January (14) as part of the Class of 2014, which also featured Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy and Randy Bachman from Bachman Turner Overdrive.
Smith was married to Price's pal, fiddle player-turned-producer James 'Hal' Smith, from 1948 until his death in 2008.
Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons refused to regroup the original Kiss line-up for a performance at the band's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction because they were afraid fans would demand a reunion tour, according to guitarist Ace Frehley. Stanley and Simmons pulled the plug on a performance at the big bash in April (14) after Hall of Fame bosses refused to honour their current bandmates alongside Frehley and drummer Peter Criss, so the live spectacular fans had hoped for was nixed - and now the group's original guitarist tells WENN the KISS army will never forgive his old bandmates.
He explains, "After 40 years, you think they could have given the fans 15 minutes that night. Peter and I wanted to perform, the Hall of Fame wanted us to do it, but Paul and Gene shot it down. It was a moment in history that was lost and some of the fans will never forgive them for that.
"But I'll tell you why Paul and Gene didn't wanna perform with me and Peter - they were afraid of history repeating itself. When me and Peter performed with them on the MTV Unplugged sessions in 1995, the place went completely crazy and they had to scrap their album that they had just recorded with Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer and they had to do a reunion tour.
"They're on tour right now with Tommy (Thayer) and Eric (Singer) and they didn't want anything to overshadow that. They were afraid that everyone was gonna demand a reunion again if we played."
And Frehley has used his new WENN interview to respond to fresh criticism from Stanley, who recently stated his former lead guitarist was not fit "to wear the uniform" of KISS, explaining, "If you no longer can uphold your end or live up to the stature that we set for ourselves in the beginning, if you are compromised by drugs or alcohol, if you've lost sight of how lucky we are to be in this position, then you no longer deserve to wear the uniform."
Frehley insists he was never as bad as his former bandmates paint him - and he hopes his new album Space Invader, his first in five years, will prove he's still got what it takes.
He adds, "It's a joke. In concert, I always delivered, and 95 per cent of the time I delivered on record. It's there, it's history. All they're trying to do is discredit me, so it validates the new line-up. They'll look foolish when my new album comes out.
"I think they're just cranky that every time they go on the Internet they have to read fans saying, 'Get Ace back'."
Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel
San Diego Comic-Con is nerd culture's second Christmas, and every year the annual ode to all things geek gets bigger and better, with film studios jostling each other for the biggest moment of the weekend. This year, the con's legendary Hall H will likely be the home of some game-changing reveals, dizzying sizzle reels, and exclusive trailers that may just be worth the dozen or so hours of waiting on line to get in. Here's a look at what we're expecting from the big film studio panels at Comic-Con:
Jupiter Ascending: The Wachowskis' latest, Jupiter Ascending, was supposed to make landfall this summer but was delayed just a few weeks away from its expected release date and sent to February — which is basically Hollywood's graveyard for lackluster films. This year's con has to be all about assuaging fears and ensuring fans that the film isn't a complete disaster. Showing a lengthy, eye-popping sequence from the film would be a great way to keep expectant fans at ease.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: As it turns the bend toward the final film in the franchise, The Hobbit series is pretty much in cruise control. We know what to expect from Peter Jackson's last hurrah in the Tolkien-verse but flames can still be fanned. We're hoping for some new footage for the upcoming film and more, since Jackson will be in attendance.
Mad Max: Fury Road: We've seen some dusty set photos from this post-apocalyptic epic, and the cast looks appropriately dirty and world weary, but what we really want to see is some footage. Since the film is set to release next May, a trailer of some sort is surely imminent.
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice: Curiously absent from the list of films showing at the Warner Bros. panel, Dawn of Justice is the biggest question mark of the con. Can Warner Bros. really walk into Hall H without a bit of Batman up their sleeves? We're gonna go with no. We're betting the studio is saving something huge for a giant payload of hype to end their conference with. If not, then Marvel has already won Comic-Con - if you believe in the notion of winning these sorts of things. Considering we've already seen glimpses of Affleck kitted out in the Bat Suit and the new Bat Mobile, we're gonna need something pretty cool.
Avengers: Age of Ultron: Marvel's Avengers sequel is bar-none the biggest film at the con, and since the film has been shooting for months at this point, and the cast is descending on San Diego for the event, there's definitely going to be something big showing. If not, expect San Diego to be scorched to the earth in the ensuing fan rage.
Ant-Man: After losing longtime director Edgar Wright and a very worrying scramble to find a suitable replacement, Ant-Man, formerly Marvel's most promising film, is looking worse for wear. Some fans even swore off the film entirely the second Wright was jettisoned from the project. Some serious damage control is on the bill this year. The studio needs to show something tangible, like a costume or some early footage, to get the hype machine rolling again.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Since Guardians is so close to release, some Hall H faithful are expecting a screening of the film. We're doubtful that Marvel will preview the entire movie, but we are expecting to see a lengthy preview of the film. Perhaps something like the 17 minutes of the finished film shown to journalists earlier this month.
Everything Else: Sure, Marvel is king of the mountain now, but keeping that title means keeping everyone happy in the near and distant future. Marvel should add a couple more pin-drops to their map of Phase 3, and announce some anticipated films like Black Panther and Captain Marvel, but also dish about upcoming projects like Thor 3 and Doctor Strange.
20th Century Fox
X-Men: Apocalypse: Since Days of Future Past just dropped earlier this summer, we're not expecting a whole lot on the X-Men side of things, but the studio would be remiss if they didn't at least hint at something X-Men related, especially given the great post-credit sequence at the end of the last film.Fantastic Four: With its oddball casting, Fantastic Four might be the most heavily scrutinized superhero film to appear at the con. Since shooting has already begun, Fox needs to prove to fans that they know what they're doing. Some test footage from the project would be great.
Everything Else: Everyone's making huge, interconnected franchises these days, and we wonder if Fox will put it's own hat in the ring. Even though their list of properties is pretty scant, the promise of a sprawling blockbuster universe might be too appealing to resist. Can there be a X-Men/Fantastic Four meet-up? Stranger things have happened. Otherwise, also expect additional news and clips from Let's Be Cops, The Maze Runner, The Book of Life, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and hopefully, a first trailer for Hitman: Agent 47.
ParamountTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The film is basically out at this point, so there really isn't much to do besides add some last minute fuel to the hype machine. The film does have its share of detractors due to Michael Bay's involvement and a mixed reaction to the new turtle designs. An early screening to Comic-Con attendees might win the film some brownie points with fans.
Interstellar: This is one instance where less is most certainly more. Christopher Nolan's mysterious space adventure is probably the year's biggest question mark, and that's the way things should be. Universal should keep its cards close to its vest and let the enigmatic nature of the project be its own marketing tool. The Nolan pedigree will likely brig in a big audience. A new trailer would be fine, but lets keep the plot points to a minimum.
Rocker Gene Simmons has dashed Kiss fans' hopes of an original line-up reunion following the group's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in April (14), insisting there's "not a chance" of a get together. As Simmons and frontman Paul Stanley prepare for a residency in Las Vegas while touring with Def Leppard, devotees are hoping that Ace Frehley and Peter Kriss will join them onstage - but the bassist insists current bandmates Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer will never be replaced.
He tells The Tampa Tribune, "We've already danced that dance three different times. No way will we reunite. It wouldn't be fair to Tommy and Eric. It wouldn't be right."
Simmons and Stanley refused to perform at the Hall of Fame gala after learning Thayer and Singer would not be honoured alongside Frehley and Kriss.
The bass player adds, "We only did the induction with Ace and Peter because the fans wanted it. But it was a slap in the face that they didn't acknowledge Tommy and Eric. They've been in the band longer than Ace and Peter."
Daniel Radcliffe, Pitbull, Pharrell Williams and Will Ferrell will be among the celebrities unveiling stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.
The selection of next year's inductees was announced on Thursday (19Jun14). The Hollywood Chamber and the Walk of Fame Selection Committee members will also welcome author Raymond Chandler posthumously, Jennifer Garner, filmmaker Peter Jackson, Paul Rudd, Melissa McCarthy, Christoph Waltz, chef Bobby Flay, Seth MacFarlane, Julianna Margulies, Chris O'Donnell, Jim Parsons, Sofia Vergara and Kool & The Gang, among others, to Hollywood Boulevard.
British thespian Kenneth Branagh is the new darling of the New York theatre scene after winning rave reviews for his "epic" and "breathtaking" stage debut in the Big Apple. The actor/director took his production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth across the Atlantic after launching it in Manchester, England last summer (13), and the curtain went up at the Park Avenue Armory's Drill Hall on Thursday night (05Jun14).
Branagh, who co-directed the show with Rob Ashford and stars alongside Alex Kingston, has won rave reviews for his turn as the tragic Scottish king and for the immersive production. Peter Marks of the Washington Post calls the show "epic", adding, "Forget the pesky glasses. You want a movielike experience in 3D? Feast your eyes on Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford's breathtakingly visual new staging of Macbeth."
The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney praises the "sensational" stage set and describes the production as a "medieval, mystical blockbuster that combines superlative, fuss-free classical theatre acting with muscular storytelling, visceral physicality and propulsive rollercoaster pacing. Oh, and lots of mud."
Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News gave the show five stars out of five, writing, "Any Macbeth rises or falls on the actor in the title role. Silver-tongued, sexy and deft with a sword, Branagh oozes charisma and carnality as his Macbeth murders his way to the throne - and his undoing. It's about time Branagh graced New York audiences with a flesh-and-blood Shakespeare star turn. It was worth the wait."
The New York Times' Ben Brantley writes, "This is the summer blockbuster that we wait for every year and too seldom find at the multiplexes, one of those action-packed, spectacle-drenched shows that sweep you right into their fraught, churning worlds and refuse to release you until the lights come up - and maybe not even then."