Legendary composer John Williams will return to pen the score of the next generation of Star Wars films. The multi-Oscar winner came up with the atmospheric music in the original trilogy, as well as the three prequels, and now he's been confirmed to write the music for Disney's reboot of the cult franchise.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy says, "I had breakfast with someone very important to the Star Wars family last Friday, and he has committed to working on Episode VII. And that is Mr John Williams. Every time I hear John's music, it just gives me the chills. It's so important to the saga."
Williams adds, "Of course I haven't seen the script, the new story is still unknown to me, but I can't imagine that there won't be some references to the existing stories that we know that would necessitate and make appropriate the use of earlier themes."
Disney took over the rights to George Lucas' production company last year (12) in a deal worth $4 billion. Williams is also famous for his work on the Harry Potter films, Indiana Jones and the iconic Jaws theme.
One of rocker Jimmy Page's lawyers thwarted an attempt to reunite Led Zeppelin for the 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy benefit gig in New York City last winter (12), according to movie mogul and concert organiser Harvey Weinstein. The film boss tells the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter he came close to agreeing terms to get Page back onstage with bandmates Robert Plant and John Paul Jones in December (12), but the guitarist's legal expert wrecked his big plan.
Weinstein says, "He's got a lawyer who's Satan or something like that."
The movie mogul also asked former U.S. leader Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama to help him secure the services of Led Zeppelin at the big charity gig.
Clear Channel entertainment president John Sykes, who produced the concert with Weinstein, explains, "Harvey found out Led Zeppelin was being honoured by The Kennedy Center, and he chartered a plane to (Washington) D.C. and was like, 'We're going to get presidents Obama and Clinton to get Led Zeppelin back together'."
The Hollywood producer reveals Plant and Jones agreed to perform but Page nixed the Madison Square Garden show, which featured the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Billy Joel and Alicia Keys and raised more than $53 million (£35.3 million) for charity.
A new West End production of black comedy The Ladykillers starring Ralf Little and Simon Day has raised a laugh among U.K. theatre critics after opening in the British capital this week (beg08Jul13). The Royle Family star Little, Gregory's Girl actor John Gordon Sinclair and Shakespeare in Love's Day are among the ensemble cast in the new show which also includes theatre veterans Con O'Neill, Chris McCalphy and Angela Thorne.
The play, about a group of criminals who pose as amateur musicians to take a room in the house of an eccentric old lady, opened at London's Vaudeville Theatre on Tuesday (09Jul13) and it convinced even the toughest critics to crack a smile.
Charles Spencer of Britain's Daily Telegraph insists the new production, adapted for the stage by Father Ted writer Graham Linehan, is "even funnier" than the original 1955 movie on which it is based.
He writes, "The great thing about the film is that it is at times genuinely chilling as well as hilarious... (This) hugely enjoyable stage production... never quite matches the creepiness of the original. I would venture to suggest, however, that it is even funnier than the movie."
The Guardian's Michael Billington praises the show's move into "slapstick" comedy, while Mark Shenton of industry publication The Stage describes the production as a "giddy summer delight that provides plenty of good reasons for theatregoers to go indoors again" and he also praises the "stellar cast" and "infinite skills" of the actors.
The opening night audience was packed full of famous faces including actress Sheridan Smith and Spooks star Rupert Penry-Jones, who turned out to support his mother Angela Thorne, as well as comedienne Victoria Wood and Simon Day's The Fast Show co-star Paul Whitehouse.
Monty Python stars John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Jones have lost their court battle with a producer over royalties from their hit stage show Spamalot. Mark Forstater, who produced 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail, took the surviving members of the comedy troop to court over allegations he was underpaid on royalties from the spin-off musical.
Forstater claimed he should have been entitled to a larger share of the proceeds due to his contribution to the original film and an agreement put in place back in the 1970s, and Idle, Palin and Jones all gave evidence during the court case.
A judge at London's High Court ruled in Forstater's favour on Friday (05Jul13), and he is to be awarded a settlement at a later date.
Speaking after Friday's ruling, Forstater insisted the victory was bittersweet, saying, "I have always been adamant I was correct. I have been proved right - justice has prevailed. There is a sadness, though, about having to face people who were my friends in court. We have been friends for a long time. Monty Python are an institution. I like the fact that they have apparently joked about the litigation. I still think they are very funny."
Spamalot opened to huge success both on Broadway and in London's West End, winning three Tony Awards and making millions in box office sales. It has also been staged in countries including Canada, France and Japan.
Martial Arists Jim Kelly rose to fame in 1970s when he starred opposite Bruce Lee and John Saxon in Enter the Dragon. In his brief but successful film career, Kelly also appeared in films like Melinda, Black Belt Jones, Three the Hard Way, and Black Samurai. On Saturday, June 29, the 67-year-old actor died of cancer, CNN reports.
In his later years, Kelly spoofed Bruce Lee's Game of Death in a Nike commercial with Lebron James. He was also a professional tennis player on the USTA Senior Men's Circuit.
The news of Jim Kelly's passing surfaced on Sunday when the following message was posted on his Facebook page: "It is with sadness and regret that we must announce the passing of a great man and legend Jim Kelly. He will be deeply missed by all. Jim had great love for his family, friends, tennis and martial arts. We are devastated by Jim’s passing but through faith and support from family, friends and fans-we are comforted, blessed and will remain strong. He was survived by his lifetime partner of 33 years and wife."
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Singer Annie Lennox has been unveiled as the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Music Industry Trusts Award. The Eurythmics star will be honoured for her longstanding career and charity work at a ceremony in November (13).
Speaking about the accolade, Lennox says, "I feel very privileged."
Previous honourees include Sir Elton John and Sir Tom Jones, while Take That star Gary Barlow picked up the award last year (12).
Old-school assassins prove they've still got it in Red 2, the sequel to 2010's action comedy.
The movie hits theaters on July 19, reuniting the questionable crew of retired world-class operatives of Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, and John Malkovich on a global search through the U.S., Paris, London, and Moscow for a missing portable nuclear device. The sequel also stars Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, Brian Cox and Neal McDonough.
If you can't wait until the July release date to watch these geriatric killers in action, check out the six clips below. Keep an eye out for Willis being spooned and Mirren's unbelievably badass, shoot 'em up car chase (which seems to be the highlight of the film).
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Billy Joel and Sir Elton John ended their feud at the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in New York City on Thursday night (13Jun13) after the Piano Man told the Rocket Man to call him just after he introduced inductees Mick Jones and Lou Gramm of Foreigner. The former pals and touring partners fell out in 2011 when the Brit publicly accused Joel of not taking rehab seriously as he attempted to battle alcoholism in a blunt magazine interview, during which he also suggested the New Yorker was lazy.
The I'm Still Standing rocker told Rolling Stone, "He's going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they've been light. When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He goes to rehab where they have TVs. I love you, Billy, and this is tough love."
He added, "At the end of the day, he's coasting. I always say, 'Billy, can't you write another song?' It's either fear or laziness. It upsets me."
Joel was clearly saddened by Elton's comments and publicly reprimanded him, but revisiting the feud in a New York Times Magazine article, which was published last month (May13), it appeared the My Life hitmaker had mellowed, stating, "He (Elton) tends to shoot off his mouth - he shoots from the hip. I think his heart is in the right place. Maybe he's trying to motivate me, to get me mad or something. He's kind of like a mum."
Joel also recently stated he would be interested in performing with his fellow rock pianist again.
Elton, who was honoured with the Johnny Mercer Award at the music gala, offered to officially end the pair's stand-off at the Songwriters Hall of Fame event when he took the stage and said, "I didn't see you tonight Mr. Joel, but I want to see you."
And his gamble paid off - Joel later took to the microphone and asked, "Is Elton still here by the way?" before adding, "Anyway, we're OK. Call me. It's the same phone number."
As well as Elton and his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry and singer-songwriter J.D. Souther were saluted at Marriott Marquis Hotel gala, while Motown founder Berry Gordy was handed the Pioneer Award.
Don't worry, everybody — things are going to be just fine.
The summer looked bleak when we found out that Jon Stewart would be high tailing it out to Hollywood to direct his first feature film, leaving the Daily Show desk in the hands of one of his bespectacled lackeys. We wondered how our weeknights at 11 PM could possibly live up to those that have occupied the past decade and change, if it would even be worth it to keep up with current events without Stewart's trademark nebbishy bite lining every story.
When the news broke this weekend that the NSA has been tapping our phones and Internet histories, we weren't even sure where to turn for a stimulating, intellectual takedown of the political atrocity. We were at a loss.
But again, we need not worry. It’s going to be okay.
Oh, not the phone-tapping thing. That's still going on, and it's pretty f**king terrifying. But the Daily Show thing will be fine.
On Monday night, longtime correspondent John Oliver took Stewart's desk, at which he'll stay seated throughout the host's summer-long hiatus. Coming right out the gate with a self-mocking bit about his own inability to fill Stewart's shoes (a shtick carried on by costars Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Jessica Williams, Al Madrigal, and Aasif Mandvi — each of whom expressed mock outrage at Oliver's promotion to temporary headliner).
Quickly, Oliver leapt right into the NSA story (which, understandably, maintained a stronghold on the episode's subject matter), covering the entire ordeal with the sort of clever wit we'd expect from any episode of the show.
Of course, we will miss Stewart, and will always hold him at a plateau beyond the reach of any competition or successor. As such, we might find Oliver's gags just a little too drawn out, his interview (Monday faced him with Seth Rogen for This Is the End) just a bit too fawning, his overall demeanor just a smidge too… non-Stewart. But as far as non-Stewarts go, we got a bargain with Oliver. We'll look forward to our New Jersey-born Jonathan Leibowitz's return come autumn. But until then, we're in for a few pleasant months with Oliver at the helm.
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Robert De Niro cut his teeth on the mobster genre, earning just about every accolade he has received to date for his tenure under the direction of crime-obsessed Martin Scorsese. Although Silver Linings Playbook was an enthusiastic reminder of the actor's capabilities, De Niro's recent turns in the family comedy spectrum have been less than impressive. Luckily, rumors have amounted that he and Scorsese are back in talks for some new projects... but he can't just jump right back into the pools of gangsterdom. He'll need to ease his way back in, just as he eased his way out: with a crime-themed comedy. Just as Analyze This took De Niro from one genre to the next, The Family might take him right back again. We hope.
Above is the first trailer for the flick, which stars De Niro as the patriarch of a family in Witness Protection after extensive interraction with the mob. His anger-prone, debauchery-inclined family includes wife Michelle Pfeiffer, daughter Dianna Agron, and son John D'Leo... none of whom find it easy to assimilate to French living. Oh yeah, they're in France. And Tommy Lee Jones is there.
The Family might not be De Niro's route back to his old trasngressive glory. But at least it looks to have a bit more edge than Little Fockers. Preserve hope, De Nirians!
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