Michael Keaton felt sure he'd be fired from the set of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare movie Much Ado About Nothing - because he knew nothing about The Bard and the film's literary expert hated him. At the height of his Batman fame the actor was invited to play policeman Dogberry in the all-star 1993 movie, alongside Branagh, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington, and, keen to try something new, he signed up.
But he quickly wondered if he was suited for the film and spent most of the shoot convinced he'd be asked to leave.
Keaton explains, "I didn't think I could do it. I essentially had no knowledge of Shakespeare, hardly at all... The first day I showed up I was really intimidated because I thought all these Shakespearean actors were gonna laugh at me and they were gonna have to say we made a horrible mistake, and they were so ridiculously cool about it.
"It was such a relief that they really didn't understand the text at times either! Kenneth had a guy on set who was a Shakespeare scholar who was right at his side at all times who would tell Ken what this or that means. That poor man, oh God. I didn't want to look over at him.
"He was this very sweet little guy and after I'd do what I did I'd look over and he'd be like covering his face (in disgust)! I thought for sure they would ask me to leave, like, 'This is not working!'
"I was actually very sick during the shoot. I got a horrible flu and the sweat really worked for me!"
British stars including singer Sting and actresses Emma Thompson and Michelle Dockery have signed an open letter to the U.K.'s Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to provide a safe haven for the victims of civil war in Syria. The note has been put together by officials at Amnesty International, Oxfam, and the Refugee Council, and it calls on the British leader to amend his pledge to help "several hundred" refugees.
It demands he find space in the U.K. to house "thousands" of displaced families from the war-torn region, and has been signed by stars including Vanessa Redgrave, moviemaker Ken Loach, Monty Python funnyman Michael Palin, and fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood.
The letter, addressed directly to the Prime Minister, states, "You promised to resettle some of the most vulnerable people fleeing conflict in the region... Given your promise and the U.K.'s proud tradition of offering protection to those who desperately need it, we couldn't have been more disappointed when we discovered the scale of your ambition for Syria's refugees; to resettle just 'several hundred people' over a three-year period...
"We can do better. We must do better. People's lives depend on it... The U.S. has pledge to offer thousands of places a year over many years. We are ashamed that the U.K. has failed to do likewise."
An estimated four million Syrians have been displaced by the country's civil war, which has raged since the Arab Spring uprising threatened to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.
As obsessive readers and fans of dismissing quality movies as inferior to their literary counterparts, it's important for us to know which books will head to the big screen ahead of time. How else will we know how Wild Reese will be, or what is going to happen to Peeta? Be reasonable. We've decided to use our research for the good of society and share the adaptations coming soon that we are most excited for.
1. The Spook's Apprentice - Joseph Delaney (Seventh Son)
Thomas Ward (Ben Barnes) is the seventh son of the seventh son, which gives him the ability to see things that others cannot: ghosts, ghasts, boggarts, and the like. He becomes an apprentice to John Gregory, the Spook (Jeff Bridges). Julianne Moore is set to play Mother Malkin, one of the most sinister witches who uses blood magic, luring young runaway women into care before sucking their blood to maintain her youth, who was then imprisoned by the Spook. Kit Harington and Djimon Hounsou also star.
2. Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, in case you somehow didn't know, are stepping into the roles of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey for the adaptation of the incredibly successful erotic novel. Steele, a literature student, interviews Grey as a favor to her roommate, but quickly becomes entranced by this brilliant and handsome man who is unable to resist her. He admits his desire, but on his own terms; this is a man with a need to control everything. This is also probably going to be the movie with a bunch of heavy-breathing sweaty middle-aged women trying to control themselves in the theater. You've been warned.
3. In the Heart of the Sea - Nathaniel Philbrick
The last time Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth teamed up, they brought us one of the best films of 2013, Rush. Now, they're at it again (along with Cillian Murphy and Benjamin Walker) with this story of a whaleship attacked by one angry whale, leaving the crew shipwrecked and stranded for 90 days, thousands of miles from land. The true story inspired a little book by Herman Melville (played in the movie by our favorite, Ben Whishaw) entitled Moby-Dick.
4. The Price of Salt - Patricia Highsmith (Carol)
W. W. Norton & Company
Patricia Highsmith, author of successful novels-turned-movies like Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley (we're choosing to ignore the recent The Two Faces of January here), wrote The Price of Salt, which will be released as 'Carol.' The novel itself, controversial for its lesbian content and unprecedented gay happy ending, is said to have inspired Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. The film stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and Sarah Paulson, with Far From Heaven and I'm Not There director Todd Haynes helming.
5. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
Shaye Areheart Books
Gone Girl author brings us yet another chilling thriller. A young girl is the sole survivor of a massacre that leaves both of her sisters and her mother dead in an apparent Satanic cult ritual. She testifies against her brother, but 25 years later, she begins to investigate the actual events. Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nicholas Hoult, and Christina Hendricks star.
6. A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants director Ken Kwapis is set to direct Bryson's memoir, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. The hilarious book describes Bryson's attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with his friend Stephen Katz. Emma Thompson and Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman will also star.
7. Insurgent - Veronica Roth
As conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows, a war looms for Divergent's post-apocalyptic Chicago. In this sequel, we're still following Shailene Woodley and Theo James' Tris and Four as they try to understand the reasons for Erudite's insurrection and obtain information the Abnegation are trying to protect. Kate Winslet, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, and Miles Teller return in their supporting roles, and are joined by some all-star names: Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, and Suki Waterhouse.
8. Serena - Ron Rash
The dynamic duo of mega-nominated movies Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle are back at it! Bradley Cooper plays a man trying to maintain his timber empire during the Depression, while Jennifer Lawrence plays his wife who discovers she can't have children. For some reason, we're a little terrified of JLaw in this movie from the trailer.
9. Silence - Shusako Endo
Taplinger Publishing Company
This 1966 novel about a Jesuit missionary sent to 17th century Japan where he endures persecution is set to be adapted by Martin Scorsese. It will also have an all star cast of Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Ken Watanabe, and Adam Driver.
10. The Longest Ride - Nicholas Sparks
The producers of The Fault in Our Stars, the author of The Notebook, and the hottest Hollywood son around, this movie already has us in love with it. Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson play two lovers and there's a rodeo or something; we don't really know, we were just thinking about how much this movie will make us cry. Time to read the book.
11. Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Hunt director Thomas Vinterberg tackles Thomas Hardy's novel. Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheba Everdene, a woman who has too many men in love with her and of course rejects them all until she falls for one. Three men, played by Michael Sheen, Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone), and Tom Sturridge (On The Road), all after this woman: who will she end up with? We actually just read the plot description and had everything spoiled and somehow still gasped and cried at those three paragraphs. Why didn't we know about this book before?!
12. Paper Towns - John Green
The Fault in Our Stars author John Green's next book to be adapted by the same team who adapted TFIOS (Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber). Margo and her adventures are legendary at her high school, and Quentin ("Q") has always loved her for it. Margo climbs through his window and demands he take an all night road trip of revenge, but when she goes missing the next day, Q realizes she's left clues for him and promptly hits the road again in search of her. Cara Delevingne will play Margo and TFIOS' Nat Wolff will play Q.
13. The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge - Michael Punke
Carroll & Graf Publishers
Academy Award-nominated Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, 21 Grams, Biutiful) is set to direct Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy in this adaptation. Partially based on the life of fur trapper Hugh Glass. Leo will play Glass, who is mauled by a bear, then later robbed and left for dead by his companions. He survives and sets out for revenge against those same men.
14. The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry
Faber and Faber
A one-hundred-year-old woman, Roseanne McNulty, in a mental hospital for about 50 years decides to retrace her history. As the hospital faces demolition and he must choose which of his patients should be transferred and which should rejoin the community, Dr. Grene also tries to discover her history. What they find is very different, though there are some consistencies. Vanessa Redgrave and Rooney Mara will play Roseanne McNulty, Eric Bana will play Grene, with Theo James also starring.
15. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
An oft-adapted novel, Mary Shelley's classic is to be turned into yet another film, this time directed by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin, Push). The updated version, titled Victor Frankenstein, will be told from the perspective of the doctor's assistant, Igor. The film will explain how the doctor became the man who created the legendary monster. Daniel Radcliffe will play Igor and James McAvoy will play Victor Frankenstein.
16. The Martian - Andy Weir
Crown Publishing Group
Described as Cast Away meets Apollo 13, the novel follows an astronaut stranded on Mars, fighting to survive (which also sounds mildly like Gravity to us, no?). Ridley Scott is set to direct a pretty stellar (no pun intended) cast here: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, Kate Mara, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. This sounds like a great movie already, but we'll have to wait until November to see it.
17. The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
Walt Disney Pictures is working on this live-action/CGI mash-up of the classic book, directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef), with a mind-bogglingly incredible cast. Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito will provide voices, while newcomer Neel Sethi will play Mowgli.
Actress Tessa Thompson has landed the female lead in the upcoming Rocky spin-off, Creed. Thompson joins Sylvester Stallone as he reprises his iconic character, Rocky Balboa, who is now a trainer and mentor to the grandson of his boxing best friend Apollo Creed.
Michael B. Jordan is set to play Creed's grandson, with his Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler due to helm the film.
Thompson has had a successful 2014, thanks to indie hit Dear White People, for which she won the Breakthrough Actor honour at the Gotham Independent Film Awards earlier this month (Dec14), and also nabbed a Best Actress nomination for the upcoming NAAACP Image Awards.
She also appears in acclaimed civil rights film Selma.
If there's one thing we've learned throughout the years, it's that it just isn't Christmas until we've watched a slew of movies putting us in the mood. Nobody puts us in the mood quite like the Brits do. It makes sense, considering the king of the Christmas story, Charles Dickens, is British too. Don't believe us when we say the British do it better? Take a look:
Not the only Dickens adaptations on this list, this musical adaptation has the distinction of toting a Golden Globe. Albert Finney won the statue for his turn as the titular Ebenezor Scrooge in this film that your kids will probably love.
Love Actually (2003)
Every British actor, almost ever, is in this movie: Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Martin Freeman, The Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln, and even The Maze Runner's Thomas Brodie-Sangster. The film follows eight different couples as they all work out their love lives during the Christmas season. It's so good that you'll love it without questioning its morality (we're looking at you, Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln). It's simply not the holiday season until you've watched this movie at least once. We recommend weekly viewings.
The Holly and the Ivy (1952)
This underrated classic, named for the traditional British Christmas carol and adapted from the Wynyard Browne play, has more to offer than meets the eye. A clergyman who neglected his children has his issues come to the surface during Christmas. The film poses questions about life and the meaning of the holiday in a way that's notedly part Chekhov and part comedy of manners.
Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
We're not really into the idea of 'spirit animals,' but if we had one, it would take the form of Bridget Jones. Though this movie isn't technically a holiday movie, the film's premise is fixed on Bridget's New Years' resolution, so it'll help you gear up for that. Plus, Colin Firth wears an ugly Christmas sweater AND plays Mark Darcy, in a nod to his Mr. Darcy days of Pride and Prejudice (the film is a modern adaptation of the Austen novel). It's hilarious and will be your best friend anytime you feel lonely this holiday season. Trust us.
Arthur Christmas (2011)
Santa's clumsy son tries to save one girl's Christmas after realizing his father failed to deliver her gift. Arthur Claus sets off on his mission with his grandfather, a rebellious elf, and a team of reindeer in this funny and enjoyable movie. It's a Golden Globe nominated fresh take on the holiday premise, thanks to its high-tech Santa Claus.
An enormous bag of money falls into the hands of a little boy just days before England converts to the Euro (what?). The Euro part might sound a bit strange, but the Danny Boyle-directed film works on multiple levels. It's enjoyable for kids and adults alike. It'll leave you feeling great about mankind, and that's in the spirit of Christmas after all, isn't it?
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
If your kids didn't love the Albert Finney Dickens adaptation, there's always this version, with Michael Caine playing Scrooge along with The Muppets. Kermit the Frog plays Scrooge's business partner, Bob Cratchit. It may not be the best version of the story, but it'll make you laugh and it'll warm your heart. It's also a great way to introduce kids to the classic Dickens tale!
The Holiday (2006)
The Holiday is the sort of movie that's so good, it's perfectly acceptable to watch all year long. At least, we do. Kate Winslet's performance as a woman with a mean case of unrequited love gives us all the feels. She switches houses with unlucky-in-love Cameron Diaz, and along come Jack Black and Jude Law to sweep the ladies (and the viewers) off their feet. Pour a glass (or a bottle) of wine, and enjoy this movie, whether it's the holiday season or not.
Michael Keaton and his acclaimed film Birdman flew away with the top honours at the 2014 Gotham Independent Film Awards on Monday (01Dec14). The Batman star nabbed the Best Actor prize for his role as a fallen movie star in Alejandro G. Inarritu's drama, while the film itself won the biggest award of the night for Best Feature.
Upon receiving his accolade, Keaton joked about his former career as the Caped Crusader, and said, "I want to thank the folks of Gotham. It's good to be home."
Julianne Moore took home the Best Actress trophy for her role as a woman with early onset Alzheimer's disease in Still Alice, while other acting accolades went to Dear White People's Tessa Thompson for Breakthrough Actor and Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, who were given a Special Jury Award Ensemble Performance for their wrestling film Foxcatcher.
Meanwhile, Ana Lily Amirpour collected the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, CITIZENFOUR, chronicling infamous U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, won Best Documentary, and despite going into the ceremony with four nominations, Richard Linklater's Boyhood only left with the Independent Film Audience Award.
Special prizes were handed to Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller, who was feted for his career achievement in directing, and Tilda Swindon received a similar award for acting.
Uma Thurman hosted the event held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.
U.S. reality TV star June Shannon has confessed two of her daughters were products of a romance with a convicted sex offender. The Here Comes Honey Boo Boo star has jeopardised the show's future following reports linking her to sex offender Mark McDaniel, who her daughter Anna claims molested her when she was a child.
And now, in a sensational TV interview which will air in America on Thursday evening (13Nov14), Shannon reveals Michael Anthony Ford, who was featured on a 2005 episode of reality TV drama To Catch a Predator, fathered two of her kids, Jessica, 17, and Lauryn, 14.
Opening up about the romance during a chat with Entertainment Tonight, she says, "It's about getting the truth out there. I have nothing to hide, I have nothing to lose."
Shannon also insists there is no romance between her and McDaniel, who was released from prison in March (14), revealing she only agreed to meet him at the request of her daughter Lauryn, who thought he was her dad.
She adds, "It was a conversation that she wanted her answers: what happened, why did he leave, you know, if he was her real father. He admitted to her, no. I had already told her that but, you know, she wanted to hear from both sides of the story."
Executives at TLC, who aired Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, announced they had cancelled the series on 24 October (14) amid the reports suggesting Shannon was dating McDaniel after splitting from her husband Mike Thompson.
Celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch has blasted reports suggesting his colleague Joe Zee charged Mariah Carey $65,000 (£43,000) to perfect the diva's look for a photoshoot, insisting she is "difficult - but not that difficult". The costs of making Carey look like a million dollars for an album cover picture have been exposed in a legal spat between the singer and snapper Michael Thompson, who claims he incurred massive costs after the star cancelled a 2013 session with him at the last minute.
In his legal papers, Thompson claims the former Elle magazine creative director was set to be paid $65,000 to make Carey look amazing - a figure Bloch, who has also styled Mariah, cannot understand.
He tells news show Entertainment Tonight, "That's crazy. What was she on? A 10-day shoot. It's ridiculous.
"She would have had two or three days of prep (preparation), a day of shoot - maybe two days of shoot - and a day of return, at maybe five, six thousand dollars a day - the most - is what a stylist should be charging.
"I've worked with Mariah; she's difficult but she's not that difficult to dress. She comes a little late... she hates clothes going over her head; she likes them to be pulled up from below - she gets a little claustrophobic."
Richard Linklater's acclaimed movie Boyhood has landed four nominations for the 2014 Gotham Independent Film Awards including a Best Feature nod. The drama, which took the director 12 years to complete and stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette will compete against Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Love is Strange and Under The Skin in the top category.
Hawke has also scored a Best Actor nomination for his role in the film, alongside Bill Hader for The Skeleton Twins, A Most Violent Year's Oscar Isaac, Michael Keaton for Birdman and Miles Teller for Whiplash, while Arquette is up against Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Under the Skin's Scarlett Johansson and Mia Wasikowska (Tracks) in the Best Actress category.
Nightcrawler's Riz Ahmed, Blue Ruin's Macon Blair, Boyhood's Ellar Coltrane, Wish I Was Here's Joey King, Obvious Child's Jenny Slate and Dear White People's Tessa Thompson will battle it out for Breakthrough Actor.
The prizegiving ceremony will take place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York on 1 December (14). Actress Tilda Swinton and Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller with be honoured with special tributes at the event.
Rockers Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe and Matt Bellamy are among the stars who have designed custom Carparelli guitars for a charity benefiting children who live in war zones. The instruments will be auctioned off at Bonhams New York on 9 November (14) and proceeds will benefit War Child USA.
Former R.E.M. frontman Stipe tells RollingStone.com, "No person, and certainly no child, should have to endure what many of these children have lived through, and in some cases, still live in. I am honoured to be able to make a small contribution towards helping them. Thank you War Child for that opportunity."
Film director Gus Van Sant, former Cure guitarist Pearl Thompson and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood have also contributed their custom-created guitars to the cause.
Van Sant adds, "War Child's mission to bring war-affected communities the resources that their circumstances demand is not only crucial and appropriate, but speaks to a fundamental quality we have as humans to respond and react to injustice, even when we're not directly affected ourselves.
"I'm grateful to be able to take part in a response and to support War Child's programs that make a difference in the lives of over 375,000 war-effected children a year."