Actor Javier Bardem is in talks to portray Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes on the big screen in a film project that has been shelved for over 45 years. Former blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo came up with the script for the movie in the 1960s, and reportedly wanted Kirk Douglas to lead the cast.
Schindler's List scribe Steve Zaillian has been hired to revamp Trumbo's work and produce the film, according to Deadline.com.
Movie bosses are hoping to bring Steven Spielberg onboard to direct the movie, which will centre on the battle between Cortes and Aztec emperor Montezuma.
Organisers of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in California have been forced to postpone their salute to Forest Whitaker because the Oscar winner is in South Africa to say farewell to Nelson Mandela. Whitaker was scheduled to be handed the 2013 Kirk Douglas Award at a ceremony on Sunday (15Dec13) - the same day the civil rights icon will be laid to rest in the village of Qunu, where he was born.
A statement from event bosses reads: "Due to the passing of Nelson Mandela, Forest Whitaker will be in South Africa and unable to make it to Santa Barbara on Sunday, December 15th. The Kirk Douglas Award (presentation) has been rescheduled to Sunday January 5th."
Mandela died from a lung infection last Thursday (05Dec13), aged 95.
A memorial service was held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday (10Dec13), when Bono, Charlize Theron and Naomi Campbell joined world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, in mourning.
British director Ken Loach is to be honoured for his moviemaking achievements at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival in Germany. Loach will be presented with the event's famous Golden Bear lifetime achievement prize during the 2014 Berlinale festivities in February (14), and the ceremony will include a screening of his 1993 film Raining Stones.
Festival Director Dieter Kosslick, says, "Ken Loach is one of Europe's great directors. Over his almost 50-year career, he has shown an extraordinary degree of continuity, while remaining innovative at all times... We are honouring Ken Loach as a director and greatly admire him for how he reflects on social injustices with humour in his films."
Loach follows in the footsteps of other winners, including actress Meryl Streep, Kirk Douglas and Shirley MacLaine.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Oprah Winfrey is to be saluted at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in California next year (Feb14) for her work in Lee Daniels' The Butler. The multi-media mogul, who played Forest Whitaker's wife in the drama, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Montecito Award.
Coincidentally, the 59 year old lives in Montecito, a coastal town that is part of Santa Barbara County.
She will be feted at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on 5 February (14).
Oprah is also among the favourites to land an Oscar nomination for her role in the film. She received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her big screen debut in The Color Purple 28 years ago and was the recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award two years ago.
Meanwhile, Whitaker will also be honoured at the SBIFF - he will be next year's recipient of the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film. Cate Blanchet will also pick up a top prize, the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award, for her role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.
Actor Forest Whitaker is set to receive the Kirk Douglas Award For Excellence In Film at the eighth annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The Last King of Scotland star will be feted at the event in California on 15 December (13).
Announcing this year's recipient, movie veteran Kirk Douglas says, "Forest Whitaker is an exceptional man and actor. His commitment to human causes, his passion for what is right, and his dedication to his craft are inspirational and at my age, inspiration is rare."
Previous recipients include Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford.
Meanwhile, Whitaker has also been handed the Black Pearl Career Achievement Award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which began on Thursday (24Oct13).
Michael Douglas' teenage son is keen to follow in his famous parents' footsteps and pursue a career in acting. Dylan Douglas has been trying to convince his Oscar-winning father to help him break into the family business.
He tells U.S. TV host Jay Leno, "Dylan doesn't see any reason to do anything else because he wants to act. He doesn't want to go to school or anything, he wants to be an actor.
"But he was at me the other day, he said, 'Look Dad, I've been president of my sixth grade, my seventh grade, I'm in eighth grade now and I'm president of the school'. I said, 'Dylan, I know, I'm so proud of you'. He said, 'Dad, I've been on the honour roll for two years straight... You've seen me in Oliver when I played the Artful Dodger'. I said, 'I couldn't see anyone else, Dylan, you were great'. So he says to me, 'Dad, how about throwing me a bone?' So I said, 'Sure, OK, we'll work on it'. So he's negotiating with me.
Despite his son's enthusiasm, the Wall Street star does have some reservations about the 13 year old going into acting too early.
He continues, "I think it's great, I never wanted to do it (push him into acting), he's just starting early, but I'm a little worried about this no need for school thing."
The movie star's incarcerated grown-up son Cameron also embarked on an acting career - like his father and grandfather Kirk Douglas - before he was jailed for drug offences.
When you're transported into Katy Perry's world in the "Roar" music video, you can almost forget how bad the lyrics are. But when Black Simon and Garfunkel performed the song in acoustic earnestness on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, staring the audience down in imitation of the iconic folk singers, it becomes painfully clear how insubstantial the song is.
Perhaps what really highlights the poor quality of the lyrics are the beautiful voices of The Roots' Questlove and "Captain" Kirk Douglas, who pose as Black Simon and Garfunkel. The duo, which has also performedcurrent hits like "You Don't Know You're Beautiful" and "Thriftshop" as Black Simon and Garfunkel, shows that stripped down to acoustics and vocals, there isn't a whole lot to modern pop music.
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Harrison Ford is set to receive the Hollywood Career Award at the 2013 Hollywood Film Awards. The Indiana Jones star will be feted on 21 October (13) at the Beverly Hilton in California, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Hollywood Film Awards founder and executive director Carlos de Abreu, says, "It is a great honour to be able to celebrate Harrison Ford's extraordinary talent and remarkable career."
Previous recipients have included Kirk Douglas, John Travolta, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman and Sylvester Stallone.
This past April Starz' Spartacus: War of the Damned starring Liam McIntyre may have come to the bloody end that students of history — and fans of the 1960 Kirk Douglas movie — expected. But it isn't only the legend of the Thracian slave turned rebel that lives on. So do a treasure trove of bonus features, outtakes, documentaries, and scene deconstructions from the show that'll be released on the Blu-ray edition of Spartacus' third and final season Sept. 3. Above is a clip of McIntyre and other actors from the show talking about the bloody beatings they'd endure when filming the series' sword-and-sandal action scenes. And below, get a behind the scenes glimpse of how much of the series was actually filmed in front of greenscreens. Wanna guess how much? A lot.
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