The horse had to be put down on Tuesday morning (13Mar12) after it reared up, fell backwards and broke its neck in the stables area of the Santa Anita set in California.
The tragedy marks the third time a horse has had to be euthanized - two creatures were put down last year (11) during filming on the first season of the show, which stars Dustin Hoffman.
Following Tuesday's incident, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) officials called on producers to cease filming. A PETA spokesman said, "HBO should be ashamed. Three horses have now died, and all the evidence PETA U.S. has gathered points to sloppy oversight, the use of unfit or injured horses, and disregard for the treatment of racehorses."
But HBO bosses insist that's not the case - and they are doing all they can to minimalise on-set injuries.
In a statement sent to WENN, a spokesperson says, "From the very outset of this project, the safety of the animals was of paramount concern to us. Recent assertions of lax attitudes or negligence could not be further from the truth.
"We partnered early on with the American Humane Association, which is the only mandated authority in the industry, and we work very closely with the AHA and racing industry experts to implement safety protocols that go above and beyond typical film and TV industry standards and practices.
"For example, pre-race exams are performed by a highly experienced California Horse Racing Board official regulatory veterinarian before each race scene. Everyone associated with Luck cares deeply about the well-being of the horses who are so much a part of the heart and soul of the production."
But producers have agreed to halt all horse-related filming until AHA officials complete their inquiry.
The spokesperson says, "Production will continue with other scenes."
Luck production chiefs rescinded its American Humane Association stamp of approval - which certifies no animals were harmed during the making of the programme - following the show's pilot episode after a horse was euthanized on location.
Prior to filming, network executives at HBO assured officials at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that experts would be on hand to ensure all "necessary safety procedures" were in place, however reports of a second fatality have again prompted activists to worry.
PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo tells Entertainment Weekly, "We asked for the names of the horses, whether they were retired racing horses and what their records had been, what physical condition they were in, what their rest periods were, and if they were checked between racing sequences.
"When we began to ask uncomfortable questions, they closed the door on us. We received an email this morning saying all this information is confidential and that they’re doing all that they can to prevent injuries."
American Humane Society bosses conducted a full investigation with members of the California Horse Racing Board, which has jurisdiction over the Santa Anita racetrack, where there show is filmed.
However, PETA officials have requested a review of the official necropsy reports and they're now pushing for harsher safety guidelines when it comes to horses used on TV and movie sets.
Guillermo adds, "Breakdowns don’t just happen. They happen every day, obviously, but they don’t happen in the absence of conditions that create them. Horses breakdown for a reason, and often it has to do with the condition they’re in at the time they’re put on the track. So we want to know who were these horses that died."
One death occurred during the making of the pilot and the second fatality occurred while filming episode seven.
Otherwise the new show is already a big hit and has been picked up for a second season.
The Swedish-born star, a former model, is wheelchair-bound and has been living in a home for the elderly near Rome, Italy after her house was set on fire during a burglary.
The 80 year old's finances are being looked after by court-appointed administrator Massimo Morais, and he recently wrote to Fellini's estate pleading poverty, insisting Ekberg is struggling to get by because she has no valuable assets.
Morais tells Italian newspaper La Stampa, "It's not elegant to say it but Mrs Ekberg's real problem is a lack of liquidity.
"The Fellini Foundation has not replied yet but I am confident of solidarity from anyone who wants to share with other benefactors in helping out, however modestly, a good actress who really deserves it."
Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn made their mark on Hollywood history by cementing their prints outside the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre, where the film debuted in 1961.
Moreno, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her turn as Anita in the iconic movie, took time out to pay tribute to the film's lasting legacy and its lead actress Natalie Wood, who died in 1981.
She tells reporters, "There are a lot of films 50 years old. But there are, as far as I know, very few, if any, films that are still playing somewhere on TV, in theaters all over the world. That is what is astonishing. I am just thrilled. I wish Natalie were here. I think that would really complete the quartet."
Chakiris and Tamblyn played rival gang leaders of the Sharks and the Jets.
"Brian's a very kind, gentle and supportive man... but he's quite shocked at the way it's taken over me. I eat, sleep and drink it. It's my life. He said he's never seen me like this. It's true, I don't think anything else has ever brought me such joy. It's a complete revelation." British actress Anita Dobson has surprised her husband, rocker Brian May, with her devotion to U.K. TV dance contest Strictly Come Dancing.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
Actress Noomi Rapace, who played Lisbeth Salander in the movie adaptations of writer Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy, will play singer Lindblom opposite Ola Rapace, who will portray boxer Hogberg in Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke's new movie.
Lindblom and Hogberg became Sweden's top couple in the 1960s after Scandinavian tabloids hyped up their romance.
The supernatural thriller The Rite is a different kind of literary adaptation a film not “based on” or even “inspired by” a written work but rather “suggested by” one. The degree to which this fictional film adheres factually to its source material Matt Baglio’s book The Rite: The Making of an American Exorcist is anybody’s guess. Fans of The Exorcist might argue that it’s more strongly “suggested by” William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic than anything else.
Erstwhile unknown Colin O’Donoghue in his first feature role plays Michael a seminary student sent to Rome to learn the intricacies of demonic possession. A pronounced skeptic who isn’t even sure he believes in god much less the Catholic doctrine of exorcism Michael is inclined toward the more humanistic view of the “possessed” as simply disturbed or schizophrenic individuals. What they really need he insists is not a priest but a good psychiatrist. (That belief certainly won't endear him to the Church of Scientology.)
To rid him of such malignant pragmatism Michael’s headmaster (Ciaran Hinds) ships him off to serve an apprenticeship under Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins) a Welsh Jesuit (shorthand for “eccentric”) and practicing exorcist. Having been around the theological block a few times Lucas reacts to Michael’s unbelief with wry nonchalance (a Hopkins specialty and the film’s most appealing trait); he knows that Satan’s arguments will prove far more convincing than any he might offer.
And Satan gets to work forthwith first using a pregnant Italian girl as his vessel then incorporating other representatives of the animal kingdom tormenting Michael with horned frogs and red-eyed demon mules. At first exhibiting admirable restraint director Mikael Hafstrom eventually employs just about every weapon in his terror arsenal bombarding Michael with harrowing visions and flashbacks (he grew up in a funeral home with an undertaker father played by Rutger Hauer who had a habit of bringing his work home with him) which offer ample opportunities for cheap scares. His trump card of course is Hopkins whose character eventually becomes possessed himself thus allowing The Rite to fulfill the Lucas/Lucifer conceit we all knew was coming.
The Rite varies wildly in tone with Hafstrom seemingly unable to decide if his film is to be a moody serious-minded psychological thriller or some campy outlandish horror-comedy. By the time Father Lucas becomes possessed and the reenactment of the first great celestial battle begins the film gives itself wholly over to the latter. As channeled by Hopkins the devil comes off as a less eloquent more vulgar version of Hannibal Lecter taunting Michael with naughty words and voraciously devouring scenery. The Dark Lord as a dirty old man is something of a novel concept I suppose. Scary? Maybe a little. Creepy? Oh hell yes.
The Tourist is about as difficult to get through as spotting the vowels in the name of its director. Florian Henckel von Donnersmark was last seen receiving a Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2007 for The Lives of Others which was about a couple living in East Berlin who were being monitored by the police of the German Democratic Republic. Its positive reception made way for the assumption that Donnersmark would continue to populate the USA with films of seemingly otherworldly and underrepresented themes. But his current project is saddening in its superficiality and total implausibility.
The film’s only real upside is its stars: two of our most prized Americans. Johnny Depp plays Frank Tupelo a math teacher from Wisconsin who travels to Europe after his wife leaves him presumably because of his weakness and simplicity. While en route to Venice he meets Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie) who situates herself in his company after she receives a letter from her criminal lover Alexander Pearce (who stole some billions from a very wealthy Russian and the British government) with instructions to find someone on a train who looks like him and make the police believe that he is the real Alexander Pearce to throw the authorities and the Russians off his track. Elise picks Frank and after they are photographed kissing each other on the balcony of Elise’s hotel everyone begins to believe Frank is the real Pearce and so begins the chase.
While Donnersmark could not have picked two better looking people to film roaming around Venice his lack of faith in the audience is obvious. Every aspect of the characters is hammed up again and again as if Donnersmark felt burdened with the task of making us see his vision. Doubtful that we’re capable of getting to where he wants us he has crafted a movie completely devoid of subtlety. Elise’s strength and superiority over Frank are portrayed by close-ups and repeated instances of men burping up their lungs upon seeing her (as if her beauty is in any way subjective?). And in case we forgot that Frank is the victim in this story -- even though he’s been tricked chased and shot at - Donnersmark still felt the need to pin him with a lame electronic cigarette to puff on. Frank and Elise somehow manage to lack mystery even though we get very few factual details about each of them.
Nothing extraordinary comes to us in the way of the film’s structural elements either. There is very little of the action that The Tourist’s marketing led us to believe and the dialog is often painful. The plot itself is almost shockingly unbelievable especially when we’re asked to believe that Elise falls in love with Frank after a combination of kissing him once and her disclosed habit of swooning over men she only spent an hour with (yes that was on her CV).
The Tourist is rather empty and cosmetic. It’s worth seeing if you’re a superfan of Jolie or Depp but don’t expect to walk out of the theater with anything more than the stub you came in with.