British actor Sir Tony Robinson is set to return to the stage for the first time in 16 years after signing up to star in a new London production of The Wind In The Willows. The Blackadder star will portray narrator Kenneth Grahame in the Royal Opera House musical, which is based on the author's classic 1908 novel, alongside dancer Will Kemp as Ratty.
The show will take place at the Duchess Theatre and will run for eight weeks over the Christmas (13) period.
Robinson, 67, last appeared onstage in Britain in 1997, when he featured in Alan Bennett's Forty Years On. He has also previously starred in London's West End and taken part in productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
British comedian RICKY GERVAIS is going underground for his next film role - he's voicing the character Mole in a new live action adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's classic tale THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. Pre-production is expected to begin in New Zealand in the autumn (11).
The treasured book included a handwritten dedication from author Kenneth Grahame to fellow scribe Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's daughter, Foy, who is believed to have been the inspiration for the character Ratty. The inscription was dated October 1908, the same year the story was first published.
The novel proved to be a big attraction at the Bonhams auction in London on Tuesday (23Mar10), with bids far exceeding its minimum estimated price of $4,800 (£3,000).
The Star Wars beauty has been busy promoting her new movie Brothers, and recently wrapped filming on period comedy Your Highness with James Franco.
Portman went straight back to work with director Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan, which she is currently shooting, and she's then set to join Robert De Niro and director Kenneth Branagh in the comic-book adaptation of Thor.
The 28 year old has also just signed on to tackle Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's book which adds flesh-eating monsters to Jane Austin's period novel.
And that's not all - she recently produced her first movie, Hesher, and adapted Amos Oz's novel A Tale of Love and Darkness for the big screen, which she hopes to also direct.
The ambitious actress admits she's struggling to juggle all the different projects and maybe shouldn't have committed herself to so much work.
She tells Marie Claire magazine, "I overdid it. It was like an all-you-can-eat buffet, and I was like, 'I'm hungry!' And now I'm like, 'Oh, s**t!'
"I tend to get overambitious with what I can do."
As Love Actually begins we are told that perhaps the world isn't such a dire and hateful place that "love actually is all around." Around London anyway. The film explores no less than seven different romantic scenarios within the bustling British capital--all of which interconnect and eventually resolve on Christmas Eve. There's the newly elected dashing Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who is smitten with his secretary the earthy Natalie (Martine McCutcheon); Karen (Emma Thompson) whose husband Harry (Alan Rickman) has strayed with his seductive secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch); Sarah (Laura Linney) the American wallflower who has a crush on her colleague Carl (Rodrigo Santoro); Jamie (Colin Firth) who falls for his pretty Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia (Lucia Moniz)…there are lots more but you get the gist. As love goes things may not get tied up neatly in brightly colored packages for everyone but there's still enough good cheer to spread around.
Showcasing some of Britain's finest actors Love Actually doesn't have a bad banana in the bunch. Floppy-haired Hugh Grant turns in an endearing performance and proves there isn't a romantic comedy he can't handle. He has an uncanny knack for connecting with any actress he happens to be romancing; in this case it's the adorable McCutcheon best known for the hit British TV drama EastEnders. Rickman and Thompson are quite good as the couple whose long-term marriage is beginning to crack; Thompson especially does a nice job trying to hide her pain while being a happy mom. Linney too shines as Sarah who glows with excitement when she finally gets what she so ardently wished for. Veteran stage and film actor Bill Nighy (Underworld) however steals the show as a carefree aging rock star desperate for a comeback. His Billy Mack smacks of Mick Jagger Keith Richards and Rod Stewart all rolled into one.
"I'm worried that we don't have the word 'massacre' in the title " writer/director Richard Curtis fretted to Entertainment Weekly referring to how horror-loving American audiences might not take to his new romantic comedy that is already a huge hit in Britain. True perhaps a romantic comedy starring a multitude of A-list British actors might not bring in the required masses. But who cares about the money (did I just say that)? Curtis who has written some of the best romantic comedies of the last decade including Four Weddings and a Funeral Notting Hill and Bridget Jones' Diary steps behind the camera for the first time here and is able to give each story a unique point of view from the lovesick to the wacky. There actually may be too many stories in Love Actually but it's a small gaffe. Love Actually is a refreshing good old fashioned warm and gushy movie that takes your mind off the bad things for the holiday season and Curtis should feel confident about his directing debut.