A long-awaited Freddie Mercury biopic has stalled again after actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher walked away from the project, citing creative differences. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star Fletcher signed on to bring the tragic Queen rocker's life story to the big screen in December (13), with Skyfall actor Ben Whishaw stepping in to replace Sacha Baron Cohen as the flamboyant frontman.
But after just three months, work on the coming-of-age movie has been put on hold again after the filmmaker clashed with producer Graham King, according to Deadline.com. The pair reportedly failed to see eye-to-eye on the direction of the project.
Ironically, Cohen also blamed "creative differences" for his departure from the biopic last summer (Jul13).
A replacement for Fletcher has yet to be announced, but producers are still hoping to start shooting this summer (13).
Surviving Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon will serve as co-producers on the highly-anticipated Mercury film, which was originally scheduled for release in 2012.
Mercury died from an AIDS-related illness in 1991.
After a very deliberately paced casting process, the new adventure in a galaxy far, far away in finally starting to take shape. According to Variety, John Boyega, Jesse Plemons, and Ed Speleers, as well as theater actors Ray Fisher and Matthew James Thomas are all in the running for the lead role in Star Wars: Episode VII. The role is rumored to be a Jedi apprentice, and will likely see the character learning the ways of the Jedi from Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker.
It seems that director J.J. Abrams is targeting relatively unkown actors for the lead roles, a move that worked wonders in A New Hope. In the past, Abrams and other members of the production have been vocal about returning the franchise to its roots, and evoking the qualities that made the original trilogy such a dearly beloved series among fans. After sifting through the short list of actors, we wondered which of the more notable names would go on to make the best Jedi apprentice.
Notable Roles: Moses in Attack the Block.Jedi Potential: Jedis are the stoic protectors of the galaxy. As we saw in Attack the Block, Boyega can do stoic very well. But beyond that, Boyega’s turn in ATB also conveyed a hidden rage burning under the surface of his character, and the ability to give a nuanced performance is important considering how flat the Jedi have come across in the past. Seriously, Star Wars found a way to make Samuel L. Jackson boring.Lightsaber Prowess: In Attack the Block, Moses’ chosen weapon to fight off alien invaders is a katana, which is a weapon only a couple million technological innovations away from a lightsaber. By that logic, Boyega should be a natural, though some bandages might come in handy.
Notable Roles: Todd in Breaking Bad, Landry in Friday Night Lights.Jedi Potential: There’s something inherently goofy about Jesse Plemons. Even when portraying a mush-mouthed sociopath in Breaking Bad, it was hard to stay mad at him. While those characteristics might have worked in the pitch black humor of Breaking Bad, we wonder how this might play in the Star Wars universe, especially considering how seriously the Jedi generally take themselves.Lightsaber Prowess: A true Renaissance man, Friday Night Lights’ Landry Clarke was not only one of the best kickers Dillon High School had ever seen, but he was also the lead singer in the Christian speed metal band Crucifictorious. When you’ve already touched greatness in faith based rock music and high school football, handling a lightsaber should be cake.
Notable Roles: Eragon in Eragon, Jimmy in Downton Abbey.Jedi Potential: Speleers' first taste of fantasy filmmaking came in Eragon, a popular book series that didn't have the legs to last as a succesful film property. Speleers’ character on Downton Abbey, Jimmy, is the confident and charismatic footman at Downton, and his bravado and flirtatious tendancies have often gotten him in trouble at the estate. Words like "bravado" and "charisma" don't usually go hand in hand with Jedi, but afterthe prequel films, we don't think most fans would mind a little diversity in Jedi personalities.Lightsaber Prowess: There isn't much in the way of swordplay on the estate of Downton, but Speleers did get some bladework in while filming Eragon, so a lightsaber shouldn't be too big of an adjustment.
MATTHEW JAMES THOMAS
Notable Roles: Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.Jedi Potential: Thomas' time as the geeky arbiter of justice, Spider-Man, should give him an edge in the Jedi department. The infamous Broadway production was full of high flying wire work, so Thomas should be well equipped to handle any stunts in the upcoming film. In any case, Jedi are sort of the geeks of the galaxy anyway.Lightsaber Prowess: Peter Parker isn't one for swordplay, so Thomas might be a little lost during the lightsaber battles, but all of that Spidey training will still come in handy.
Notable Roles: Muhammad Ali in Fetch Clay, Make Man.Jedi Potential: A virtual unknown in the film world, Fisher doesn't have many big screen credits as of yet, but the young thespian does have a good amount of experience in theater. The actor recently played Muhammad Ali in the off-Broadway production of Fetch Clay, Make Man. Ali was a fierce boxer as well as a thinker, and the Jedi order has the same dichotomy of violence and philosophy. We think Fisher may be more qualified for the Jedi Robes than his IMDB page lets on. He'll certainly be the coolest Jedi ever.Lightsaber Prowess: Honestly, who needs lightsabers when you're the heavyweight champion of the world? The force is strong with this one, even without any laser sword experience.
Breaking Bad star Jesse Plemons and Downton Abbey's Ed Speleers are among the actors who have been shortlisted to play the lead role in Star Wars: Episode Vii. Ray Fisher and British actors John Boyega and Matthew James Thomas are also being considered to take on the role of a young Jedi apprentice in the much-anticipated movie, according to Variety.com.
The film was originally supposed to focus on the children of Han Solo and Princess Leia, but the characters have reportedly been moved to supporting roles.
Director J.J. Abrams is scheduled to begin production on the project in London later this year (14), with the film hitting theatres in 2015.
Irish actress Saoirse Ronan and Michael B. Jordan previously confirmed they have auditioned for roles in the blockbuster and reports suggest Carrie Fisher will return as Princess Leia.
Rocker Gruff Rhys is launching an interactive project with a cell phone app in honour of Welsh explorer John Evans. The Super Furry Animals frontman is fascinated with the bizarre story of his fellow countryman Evans, who trekked across the U.S. in the 18th Century on a futile search for other Welshmen.
The musician has decided to pay tribute to the intrepid explorer with his next solo project, American Interior, which includes a new album and a film, book, and cell phone app about Evans' story.
Rhys tells Q magazine, "It's so far-fetched he might as well have been a Welsh prince who went to Mars in 1969 and stayed and had loads of kids... John Evans put his life on the line chasing mythology, a fantasy. Maybe that's not such a great idea."
Reality TV star Judge Judy has filed her very first lawsuit against an attorney in Connecticut who used her image to promote his personal injury firm. The TV judge, real name Judith Sheindlin, filed suit in federal court against Hartford attorney John Haymond on Wednesday (12Mar14), alleging he used her name and likeness in unauthorised advertisements and commercials, suggesting she had endorsed him and his firm.
Sheindlin, who is a retired Family Court judge and the star of her own U.S. TV series for 18 years, is seeking more than $75,000 (£45,145) in damages.
She scolds the attorney in a statement which reads: "Mr. Haymond is a lawyer and should know better."
The lawsuit states that Haymond created commercials combining clips from her show, along with shots of him and his daughters, and the ads ran during broadcasts of Judge Judy in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The lawsuit reads: "By trading, without consent or authorization, on Sheindlin's well-known persona, the Haymond Defendants have irreparably harmed and damaged Sheindlin's hard-earned professional and artistic reputation, dignity, and prestige."
Sheindlin states in the legal documents that any money received from the lawsuit will go towards the Her Honor Mentoring Programme, which provides college scholarships to young women.
Robin Thicke's TV star dad is heading back to the small screen to front a new U.S. reality series. Growing Pains star Alan Thicke has signed up to allow TVGN cameras follow him and his wife Tanya as they attempt to balance business and parenting in Unusually Thicke.
Singer Robin is not expected to be a regular on the show, but he will appear in at least one episode.
The series will also feature the Blurred Lines singer's teenage brother Carter, while David Hasselhoff, John Stamos, Tom Green and sports stars Magic Johnson and Wayne Gretzky are expected to make cameo appearances.
Announcing the new show, which will debut in America next month (Apr14), Thicke says, "Unusually Thicke combines my two favourite things: family... and laughing at my family.
"This series is my foray into the reality-ish television world where viewers will meet the lovable, unpredictable, and often challenging people who live with the real Jason Seaver (Growing Pains character). We take our relatable real-life stories and blow them up to amuse and amaze, tossing in a handful of celebrity friends along the way."
Rock legend Neil Young has teamed up with Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder and Tom Petty to launch a Kickstarter.com campaign to raise funds for his new digital music service and player Pono. Springsteen, Vedder, Petty, David Crosby, James Taylor and Sting are among the stars who have provided testimonials to support Young's new invention, which recreates the purest sound of the music - as heard in the studio during the recording process.
Launching the new campaign with a video message to music fans, Young says, "It’s about the people who make the music and the way it sounds to us when we’re in the studio making it. It’s about you hearing what we hear. And that hasn’t happened in a long time. I want to bring back real music. That’s why we’re on Kickstarter. So that everyone who loves music can share in the release of Pono and the launch of the real music experience in the 21st century."
The video also features testimonials by Beck, Jack White, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, Sir Elton John, Patti Smith, Kid Rock and members of Mumford & Sons.
Filmmaker-turned-hitmaker David Lynch has invited Moby and Bastille to remix two of his Crazy Clown Time songs for a new Record Store Day release. The Twin Peaks director is planning to release a remix EP for the annual celebration of independent music stores in April (14), and he has asked four of his favourite acts to revamp songs from his 2013 album The Big Dream.
The EP will be available in 12-inch, red vinyl, and will also feature reworked tracks by Hot Since 82 and Bjorn & John.
Funnyman Jason Sudeikis is in talks to take over the role of investigative reporter I. M. Fletcher from Chevy Chase in a franchise reboot. Chase first played the character in 1985's Fletch, which spawned a sequel in 1989.
Fletch Won has been in development for more than a decade with a number of directors, including Kevin Smith, linked to the film, and several actors, including John Cusack, Zach Braff, Jason Lee and Ryan Reynolds, considered for the lead role.
It had also been rumoured Chase would reprise his role in 2009, but no other details have emerged.
The films are based on the book series by Gregory McDonald.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube
If you took a picture of you and your friends at the top of New York City's Rockefeller Center, there might be a good chance that two celebrity hooligans ruined your view of the world's most famous skyline. That's because The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and Mad Men's Jon Hamm set up a camera at the top of the Rock just for the sole purpose of photobombing eager tourists.
It started off plainly enough with Hamm walking casually behind some tourists before Fallon joined in the tomfoolery. But the madness quickly escalated, beginning with a chest bump and followed up with Don Draper giving the late night host a piggy back ride. Then things really got zany with the two of them renacting the memorable "spaghetti kiss" scene from Lady and the Tramp with a hoagie (I thought they called them subs in New York...) and then popping up like a pair of whac-a-moles from a fake parapet.
Most people would absolutely hate having their photos ruined by a couple of jerks. But I have a feeling these folks walked away pretty happy with the pics they took.