"If I had to say who I thought the best singers were, I'd say first that I don't know there's a definitive answer, as, in my opinion it's subjective, and second that my focus is primarily rock singers. That said, I enjoy Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Dan McCafferty, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Roger Daltrey, Don Henley, Jeff Lynne, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Scott, Etta James, Fiona Apple, Chrissie Hynde, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and a ton of others... and would rather hear any of them anytime rather than me!" Axl Rose responds to a new online poll which placed his at the top of the world's greatest singers list.
Members of Britain's most famous theatrical families will come together on the London stage when Vanessa Redgrave's granddaughter makes her debut alongside Jack Fox. Daisy Bevan, daughter of Nip/Tuck star Joely Richardson, is following her mother and grandmother into the family business after landing a leading role in a stage production of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.
The title character will be played by Fox, who is also a member of one of the U.K.'s most famous acting dynasties - his father is James Fox, his brother is Lawrence Fox, and he is the cousin of Freddie and Emilia Fox.
It will also mark the actor's professional stage debut, and Fox admits he has asked his father for advice.
He tells the London Evening Standard newspaper, "He has wonderful pearls of wisdom. He said, 'Think about what your character wants in every scene and if you do that you will be able to get into his head a little bit'. My dad's a model professional and a perfect dad. He's my idol. My family have always been there for me."
Bevan is equally as thrilled to get her big break in theatre: "I was very excited to get my first theatre job. The world of theatre is so different from film acting. Being in a rehearsal room is electrifyingly exciting. But there's an added pressure because of the work my family does. What if I'm the black sheep, the one who can't do it?"
The play will open at the Riverside Studios in London on Thursday (17Apr14).
The Queen film has found its frontman. Actor Ben Whishaw has officially been cast as Freddie Mercury in the upcoming Queen biopic. The film will be directed by actor turned director Dexter Fletcher. Whishaw is best known for his role as the new "Q" in the last James Bond film Skyfall, and has also appeared in the Wachowski's genre-sweeping epic Cloud Atlas. Fletcher has acted in several films over the years, but only has a couple of director's credits under his name, including the films Wild Bill and Sunshine On Leith, the latter of which was a musical and should have given Fletcher the experience in working with a film that emphasises music.
According to Deadline, The film will center on the band's formative years and rough beginnings while culminating in Queen's landmark performance at Live-Aid in 1985 which lines the halls of Rock and Roll's most iconic live performances. The film will reportedly not delve into Mercury's final years as he succumbed to complications from AIDS in 1991, but instead go out with the triuphant career-defining performance. The biopic has also gained the right to use an extensive selection of Queen's music including their most popular songs: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” “Another One Bites The Dust” and “You’re My Best Friend.”
Whishaw has made a career playing quietly calculating and nebbish individuals, so his casting as the bigger than life Freddie Mercury is interesting one. Mercury is one of pop music's most iconic figures, and Whishaw will have to crank up the bombast to eleven and grow a pretty weighty mustache in order the convincingly portray the Queen frontman's immeasurable stage presence and charisma.
A costume worn by Mark Hamill in Star Wars is expected to fetch as much as $45,000 (£30,000) at auction. The poncho worn by Hamill's character Luke Skywalker in 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope is among the items featured in Christie's Pop Culture online sale.
The auction includes 100 lots of props, photographs, artwork, instruments and other iconic items from the world of music and film.
Also up for sale is the Tom Ford-designed suit and cuff links worn by Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall, and a trumpet played by jazz legend Louis Armstrong, which expected to bring in as much as $12,000 (£8,000).
The black lace Jean Paul Gaultier evening gown worn by Lady Gaga on the red carpet at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards is also up for sale, along with a dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Paris When It Sizzles, and stage costumes donned by Britney Spears, Madonna and Freddie Mercury.
The Pop Culture lots have been put on display at Christie's auction house in London until 5 December (13). Fans can bid on the items in the exhibition in the online-only auction until 5 December (13).
Rocker Brian May has broken his silence about Sacha Baron Cohen's exit from an upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, revealing the surviving members of Queen feared the comedian's presence would distract fans from the flamboyant frontman's life story. The Ali G star walked away from the project in July (13) after spending months perfecting his vocals for the role, amid rumours he had fallen out with May and Roger Taylor over his planned portrayal of their late friend and bandmate.
Cohen has yet to comment on his reasons for quitting the film, but May has now shed some light on the actor's departure, insisting he just wasn't right for the job.
May tells UltimateClassicRock.com, "In the end, we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting.
"What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he's made - The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo - in which he makes outstanding performances, but they're very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances. And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief - the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn't think that could really happen with Sacha."
However, the guitar icon is adamant claims of a bitter rift between the Queen stars and Cohen are completely unfounded.
He adds, "It's a shame that there were these sensationalist stories about him walking out. None of that was true... We owe Sacha a lot. He had so much enthusiasm for the project and it really helped us kick it into the start position."
Reports suggest James Bond star Ben Whishaw has since been tapped as Cohen's replacement - Taylor hinted at the new casting in a TV interview on Friday (18Oct13), stating that an actor with the initials 'BW' had become the frontrunner for the role.
Two members of Queen — Roger Taylor and Brian May — spoke recently about their hope that Ben Whishaw, a British actor best known for his role as Q in the new James Bond series, is cast as the replacement for Sacha Baron Cohen in the Freddie Mercury biopic currently still in production.
Cohen left the project earlier this year due to what was cited as creative differences about whether the project should be a tame PG or an unflinching R, but in an interview this weekend, May revealed that it might have been more like personality differences: "We thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief – the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn't that could really happen with Sacha."
At the time (and, honestly, even now) it seemed unwise to pass on an actor like Cohen with such a natural resemblence to Mercury and a passion for the project that led him to attach screenwriter Peter Morgan and pursure directors like Tom Hooper and David Fincher. But, in his defense, Whishaw has already played one famous musician (Bob Dylan in I'm Not There) and aquitted himself nicely. And his youth means that he could probably pass as a younger version of Mercury without having to cast another actor.
However, does this mean the "family friendly, PG" version of the project is the one that's going forward? Because while Mercury's life was always deep, varied, and interesting, exploring the darker depths of what it meant for the man to hide/obscure his contraction of HIV/AIDS and grapple with his sexual orientation would not only provide interest to the story, but would help separate Mercury the person (who was notoriously private) and the character in the film.
And honestly, do these two rock stars who came to prominance in the '70s and '80s think that their touring, partying, and overall lifestyle was ever going to be appropriate for a family film? Perhaps Taylor and May should rethink whether or not a film adaptation is really the best way to honor Mercury. The film doesn't have to revel in or exploit the more sordid aspects of the story, but there's also no reason to sell an obviously sanitized version of his life.
The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess formed a rock supergroup with members of New Order, Mumford & Sons, The Vaccines and The Pretenders on Friday (18Oct13) to pay tribute to his late bandmate Jon Brookes. The gig at London's Royal Albert Hall boasted performances by Liam Gallagher, Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield, and the surviving members of The Charlatans, but it was an early set by Tim & Friends which got fans chatting excitedly as Burgess recruited New Order's Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, Winston Marshall from Mumford & Sons, Freddie Cowan and Arni Arnason of The Vaccines and James Walbourn from The Pretenders to join him onstage for a special jam session.
Explaining how the supergroup line-up came together, Burgess told the audience, "I asked The Vaccines, but the singer was on holiday. I asked New Order, but the singer was on holiday. That wasn't going to stop us, so I said I'd sing."
The band covered New Order's Love Vigilantes and The Vaccines' Melody Calling, before wrapping up with Joy Division tune Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Burgess later returned to the spotlight to play with The Charlatans, and they had a special guest stepping in for Brookes - former The Verve drummer Pete Salisbury.
Speaking before the gig, bassist Martin Blunt told NME.com, "There was a tour when Jon was ill and wasn't going to be able to play. We asked who he wanted to replace him, and his first choice was Pete Salisbury."
Brookes, a founding member of the band, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010 and although he initially recovered enough to rejoin the band, he relapsed and died of brain cancer in August (13), aged 44.
James Bond star Ben Whishaw is set to star as Queen's Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic. Ali G star Sacha Baron Cohen had initially been picked to play the flamboyant rock icon, but pulled out of the movie in July (13), citing creative differences.
Now filmmakers have turned to British actor Whishaw to take on the project, which will be produced by the band's surviving members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, according to Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.
Taylor hinted at the new casting on Friday (18Oct13), when he stated in a TV interview that an actor with the initials "BW" had become the frontrunner for the role.
The screenwriter of the much-anticipated Freddie Mercury biopic fears the project will be shelved after Sacha Baron Cohen's decision to walk away from the film. Cohen reportedly fell out with the remaining members of Mercury's band Queen, who have script and director approval, and now revered writer Peter Morgan has opened up about the doomed movie.
He tells the BBC, "It's probably not going to happen."
The film, which was originally scheduled for a 2012 release, has faced a slew of delays, but rocker Brian May assured fans last year (12) that the movie "should be ready" to hit screens in 2014.
A source close to the film has contradicted Morgan's remarks, insisting the project is "still very much alive".
Earlier this year (14), Anglo-Indian actor James Floyd revealed he was keen to reprise his portrayal of rocker Mercury in the movie biopic.
The young star played the tragic singer, who died in 1991, in British TV movie The Best Possible Taste, and he admitted he had been approached to play the young Mercury again in the new film project.
Most movies don't understand teenagers.
That doesn't mean they're bad. Dabbling in the word of high school drama is a thankless effort. Whether they're finding conflict in the ups and downs of junior year or the comedy of kids losing ther virginities, more often than not, the characters at the center have to skew away from truth in favor of the movie's point. They become exaggerated reflections of the high school experience rather than an honest portrayal of it.
With The Spectacular Now, which premiered this week at Sundance, director James Ponsoldt restrains himself from amplifying any particular facet of teenage life. The film follows Sutter (Miles Teller) during the final months before graduation. In a college application essay, he catches us up on his life, from a break up to his life as the center of attention. He's a cool kid who loves to party — maybe even too much. That's for Sutter to figure out, as Ponsoldt, directing a script from 500 Days of Summer writers Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter, never judges his lead, nor does he arbitrarily introduce hurdles designed to push him towards epiphany.
Organically shaking up his comfortable existence is Aimee (Shailene Woodley), a bookish do-gooder who finds Sutter passed out on her lawn one morning. Aimee is Sutter's polar opposite, while complacent in her own right — she's dedicated to school, stuck doing her mother's paper route, and guilt-stricken for even considering going to college. When the two connect, Sutter is ignited by the challenge of drawing Aimee out of stasis. Without realizing it, he opens himself up to that same change.
What could have been an updated She's All That becomes a touching, emotional journey in the hands of Ponsoldt. His characters aren't caricatures — at first glance, Teller's Sutter is the recognizable pompous cool kid capable of kicking back shots and landing the good-looking ladies. But there's motivation for the behavior: Sutter loves being a great friend. He has the right advice for everyone. With enough alcohol in his system, he can drown the darker sides of his personality and live in the "now." A teacher tells him he's "in neatural." His response speaks volumes: "Neutral? I'm in overdrive." With incredible swagger and charm, Teller is downright hypnotic, making it easy to see why no one has ever been able to help him with his own problems.
To counter Teller, Woodley explores a side of her that's in complete opposition to her award-worthy work in The Descendents. There, she was high status and curt. In Spectacular Now, she can barely make eye contact with others. She's fragile, shy and enamored by the fact that a guy like Sutter would even speak to her. When their relationship begins to blossom, it's all at once sweet, silly, and scary.
Unlike last year's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a film that weaves every high school problem into one sweeping coming-of-age tale, The Spectacular Now is comfortable in exploring the lower-key issues. Nothing seems wrong in the beginning, and Sutter and Aimee don't face many problems when their friendship first begins. But they're forced to go deeper, turning the movie into a story of raw emotion told with raw style. They confront their families, including Aimee's overbearing mother and Sutter's father, who left when he was only a kid. Kyle Chandler fills the role, delivering a powerful performance that will shock any fans of the actor who are clinging to his lovable days as Coach Taylor.
Spectacular Now understands teenagers because it understands people. It's not a movie about nostalgia, but rather a time that's universally turbulent. Don't mistake the movie as a Freddie Prinze Jr. or Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle. Teller and Woodley may play high school characters, but when Spectacular Now rolls out this summer, their performances will be among the best of the year.
[Photo Credit: A24]
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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