Bond star Sir Roger Moore has personally financed the latest move in a high-profile campaign to shame bosses of a top British department store into banning the sale of foie gras. The veteran actor is a leading light in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) drive to force the owners of Fortnum & Mason to remove the controversial pate from shelves.
Despite protests from the public and other stars including Joanna Lumley, Morrissey, and Ricky Gervais, executives at the high-end store still stock foie gras, and Moore has now stepped up the campaign by paying for the printing of hundreds of thousands of leaflets.
The flyers, which will be handed to passers-by outside the London store every day in the run-up to Christmas, features a photograph of the former 007, Absolutely Fabulous star Lumley, and Ralph Fiennes, with the slogan, 'Why Have These People Spoken Out Against Fortnum & Mason?'.
It goes on to detail the controversial techniques often used in the production of foie gras.
Moore says, "The callous treatment of geese filmed by investigators at the very farms in France from which Fortnum & Mason's distributor sources foie gras was far more violent and cowardly than anything James Bond ever faced at the hands of villains.
"I want shoppers to hear the simple fact that foie gras is so cruel that it is illegal to produce in the U.K. and to know that Fortnum & Mason keeps selling this bird-abusing foodstuff although the British public is up in arms about it."
A PETA spokesman adds, "James Bond always took a stand against bullies and stood up for British values, so it's fitting that Sir Roger would pay for a campaign against Fortnum & Mason's sale of un-British foie gras."
A note from James Bond creator Ian Fleming to playwright Jack Whittingham has sold for $4,500 (£3,000) at Bonhams auction house in London. The note, sent in 1958, outlines the author's ideas for the first Bond film adaptation, suggesting producers should get names for their villains from the phone directory and advising they pack the action movies with "incidents".
Penelope Cruz's young son made his stage debut in London this month (Dec13) by volunteering during a children's show. The actress and her husband Javier Bardem, who are currently living in the British capital, took their two-year-old boy Leonardo to see The Snail and the Whale, an adaptation of the children's book of the same name, at the St James Theatre in Victoria.
During the show, Leonardo enthusiastically joined the cast onstage and had to be led back to his seat by his mother.
The production's director Toby Mitchell tells the London Evening Standard, "The actors were saying, 'Come on everybody, we've got to save the whale'. And this little boy decided he wanted to save the whale as well and ran on to the stage to help. He was very into the play. The child's mum - Penelope Cruz - came on stage and just gently led him off."
The couple is also parents to a baby daughter, Luna.
Alan Bennett's lauded drama The History Boys has been voted Britain's most beloved play. The show, about a group of teenagers preparing for their university entry exams, topped a new poll by bosses at the English Touring Theatre.
The History Boys was first staged in London in 2004, launching the careers of British actors James Corden, Dominic Cooper and Russell Tovey, and was adapted into a film in 2006.
Noises Off, a farce by Michael Frayn, came second in the list, followed by William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet.
Other plays to make the top 10 include Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, and An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley.
The Bard took the eighth, ninth and 10th spots on the list with Twelfth Night, Macbeth and King Lear.
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.
British singer Olly Murs was left with a bizarre injury following a celebrity charity soccer match in London on Tuesday (10Dec13) after he pulled a muscle in his butt. The Heart Skips A Beat hitmaker led his team out at Wembley Arena in a BBC Radio 1 contest against DJ Nick Grimshaw, who managed a side including Rizzle Kicks and singer James Arthur.
Murs, who played soccer semi-professionally before finding success in the charts, eventually triumphed, winning the game on penalties, but he was left in agony after pulling a muscle in his backside.
In a post on Twitter.com after the game, Murs wrote, "Oh my God!!! Nearly sick at full time!! And have pulled my left bum cheek... I'm in sooooo (sic) much pain!"
Acclaimed Australian singer/songwriter Vance Joy has pulled out of a festival slot Down Under after doctors placed him on "vocal rest for the foreseeable future". The musician, real name James Keogh, was due to perform at the Meredith Music Festival in Victoria on Friday (13Dec13), but he has now axed his appearance with just days to go.
A statement from the star has blamed the cancellation on exhaustion and severe vocal problems. It reads, "Following doctors orders and to prevent the risk of permanent damage, Vance Joy has been placed on vocal rest for the foreseeable future... We want to thank you for your understanding & well wishes. James and band are absolutely shattered, but his long term health has to be our priority here & therefore must follow doctors orders."
The news comes just days after the singer cancelled a planned trip to the U.K. and called off a show in London on 4 December (13).
Joy is due to kick off a massive world tour early next year (14), including dates in Europe and across North America.
The U.K.'s Foreign Language Oscar entry, Metro Manila, dominated the British Independent Film Awards on Sunday (08Dec13), taking home three prizes, including Best Film. The crime movie set in the Philippines was given the top honour during the London ceremony, also earning the award for Best Achievement in Production and a Best Director win for Sean Ellis.
James McAvoy was named Best Actor for Filth and Lindsay Duncan for claimed Best Actress for Le Week-End, while the supporting actor accolades went to Ben Mendelsohn for Starred Up and Imogen Poots for her performance in The Look Of Love.
Best Documentary was awarded to the filmmakers behind Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer, about the Russian rockers jailed for hooliganism charges, and Best International Independent Film was given to controversial lesbian drama, Blue Is The Warmest Color.
Veteran actress Julie Walters was also presented with the prestigious Richard Harris Award to mark her contribution to the U.K. film industry, and Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass was honoured with the Variety honour, which recognises an actor, director, writer or producer who has helped to focus the international spotlight on the U.K.
Lady Gaga celebrated the arrival of her new album Artpop by staging a star-studded gig in London on Friday (06Dec13). The Poker Face singer took over London nightclub Annabel's for a very special live show, and she entertained a crowd full of celebrities from the world of film and music with tracks from the album, which was released last month (Nov13).
The exclusive audience included award-winning singer Adele, pop star Jessie J, Sting, James Blunt, Les Miserables' Eddie Redmayne, Bryan Ferry, Emile Sande, and Harry Potter actress Emma Watson.
Gaga addressed the wealthy crowd by jokingly asking for donations, saying, "Hello, rich people. You should be happy. I'll be passing around a hat as I'm extremely poor. If you could contribute to my art, that would be great. I need some more feathers for my hat."
British supermodel Naomi Campbell, who was due to attend the event, skipped the party saying she was "in mourning for Mandela" following the South African leader's death on Thursday (05Dec13).
Harry Potter co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint have both been honoured among the cream of the British theatre scene after landing nominations for the upcoming WhatsOnStage awards. Radcliffe is on the shortlist for the coveted Best Actor in a Play prize for his turn in The Cripple of Inishmaan, but he faces fierce competition from fellow Hollywood actor James McAvoy for his role in Macbeth, as well as Lenny Henry (Fences), Rory Kinnear (Othello) and Skyfall star Ben Whishaw (Peter and Alice).
Grint has followed his friend into theatre this year (13) and has landed a nod in the Newcomer of the Year category for his West End debut in Mojo. He faces rivals including Jack Huston (Strangers on a Train) and singer Tori Amos, who has been nominated for composing the score to her musical The Light Princess.
Other stars to have landed nods include Dame Helen Mirren, whose turn playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience scored her a nomination for Best Actress in a Play. She is going up against Captain America: The First Avenger star Hayley Atwell (The Pride), James McAvoy's wife Anne-Marie Duff (Strange Interlude), Suranne Jones (Beautiful Thing), and Tanya Moodie (Fences).
The awards, which are voted for by theatre-goers, will be handed out at a ceremony in London on 23 February (14).