Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Sir Michael Gambon is reuniting with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to bring her first adult fiction book, The Casual Vacancy, to life on the small screen.
The British acting icon, who replaced the late Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore in the boy wizard film franchise, will lead the cast in a BBC TV adaptation of the bestselling novel, about an unexpected death in a quaint English village. He will portray deli owner Howard Mollison, opposite Notes on a Scandal actress Julia McKenzie.
The miniseries will also feature Keeley Hawes, Rufus Jones, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan and newcomer Abigail Lawrie. Production on the three-hour series is due to begin on 7 July (14) in south west England. Rowling released The Casual Vacancy in 2012. It has sold more than six million copies worldwide.
The Book Of Mormon has officially been deemed a West End hit after winning four prizes, including Best New Musical, at the 2014 Olivier Awards in London. The Tony Award-winning stage show, from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, opened in London last year (13) and it dominated the musical categories at the annual theatre prizegiving, taking home Best Actor in a Musical for Gavin Creel, Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Stephen Ashfield and Best Theatre Choreographer for Casey Nicholaw.
The Best Actress in a Musical title went to Zrinka Cvitesic for Once.
Meanwhile, Lucy Kirkwood's thriller Chimerica was another big winner, being named Best New Play and earning Best Director for Lyndsey Turner, as Rory Kinnear walked away with Best Actor for Othello and Lesley Manville claimed the female equivalent for Ghosts.
Ghosts was also named Best Revival and landed Jack Lowden Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Sharon D Clarke was awarded the Best Actress in a Supporting Role prize for The Amen Corner.
Guests at the Royal Opera House event on Sunday (13Apr14) were treated to performances from Broadway regular Bernadette Peters and tenor Joseph Calleia, but the highlight of the night came when ABBA stars Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus joined the cast of Mamma Mia! to sing a medley of hits in celebration of the musical's 15th anniversary in the West End.
Hit musicals Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along will go head-to-head at this year's (14) Olivier Awards after receiving seven nominations each. Sam Mendes' adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved book is up for Best New Musical alongside The Book of Mormon, The Scottsboro Boys, and Once, while Merrily We Roll Along leads the Best Musical Revival category against The Sound Of Music and Tell Me On A Sunday.
The Book of Mormon, The Scottsboro Boy, and Once are just one nod behind the leading pair with six apiece.
In the drama categories, Ghosts, about a woman struggling with the death of her cruel husband, is up for five prizes, including Best Revival, Best Director and Best Actress for Lesley Manville.
She will go up against fellow nominees Judi Dench (Peter & Alice), Anna Chancellor (Private Lives),and Hayley Atwell (The Pride).
The Avengers star Tom Hiddleston is up for Best Actor for his powerful turn in Coriolanus, putting him in competition with Jude Law (Henry V), Henry Goodman (Arturo Ui), and Rory Kinnear (Othello).
Nominated for Best Supporting Actor alongside Ghosts' Jack Lowden are Ardal O'Hanlon (Weir), Ron Cook (Henry V), and Mark Gatiss (Coriolanus), while Best Supporting Actress hopefuls are Sarah Greene (The Cripple of Inishmaan), Sharon D Clarke (Amen Corner), Katherine Kingsley (MSND), and Cecilia Noble (Amen Corner).
Chimerica, Peter And Alice, 1984, and The Night Alive are all nominated in the Best New Play category.
The Olivier Awards will take place at London's Royal Opera House on 13 April (14).
Sir Paul McCartney has been credited with helping Broadway producer Vivek Tiwary score the rights to use the Beatles' music in a planned biopic about legendary Fab Four manager Brian Epstein, after his requests to publishing bosses were repeatedly snubbed. Tiwary detailed Epstein's life story in last year's (12) graphic novel The Fifth Beatle, and he has been working on adapting the project for the big screen for years.
However, he struggled to secure permission to use a handful of Beatles songs for the movie soundtrack for some time, until his letters finally reached surviving Beatle Sir Paul McCartney. The rocker checked out Tiwary's comic book and became such a big fan, he greenlit the request himself and enlisted the backing of former bandmate Ringo Starr, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia, too.
Tiwary tells BlogtalkRadio.com, "One of the exciting things about the film is that we got music rights; the sign-off from Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia Harrison, which allowed us to do a deal with (bosses at publishing company) Sony ATV.
"We are literally the first and only film in history to have gotten those rights. It took me three years and I literally, in my momentos, have four rejection letters. I just kept going until I got to Paul McCartney. He loves the book. He's very protective of the Beatles' legacy and he's been very, very warm in recent years about Brian's memory. It's Paul who very famously said, 'If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian.'"
Tiwary admits he was "a little nervous" to receive feedback on the comic from McCartney, but his fears quickly melted away: "He loved it. He was also very moved in particular that Andrew C. Robinson, the artist (for the graphic novel), painted every single page on a canvas.
"In fact, one of Paul's lesser known songs is Magneto vs. Titanium Man so he's literally a hardcore comic book guy. It was a great thrill to know that he is a supporter of the book. He wrote us a lovely note and I'm very humbled and honoured by that."
Bring It On filmmaker Peyton Reed has been hired to direct The Fifth Beatle, which is due to begin production next year (14).
Epstein died of a drug overdose in 1967.
Casting details have yet to be announced. David Angus played the manager in 1991's The Hours & Times and Rory Kinnear portrayed Epstein in 2010's Lennon Naked.
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).
Dame Helen Mirren has won another award for playing The Queen. The great Brit, who picked up a Best Actress Oscar in 2007 for portraying the top royal in The Queen, was named Best Actress at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards on Sunday (17Nov13) - this time for her performance in West End stage play The Audience.
Othello co-stars Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear were both honoured with Best Actor trophies for their performances as Othello and Iago, while Dame Maggie Smith and Andrew Lloyd-Webber received special awards at the Savoy Hotel gala.
The Downton Abbey star was feted with the Evening Standard Theatre Icon Award, while impresario Lloyd-Webber was recognised for his contribution to musical theatre.
There were also accolades for Kevin Spacey, who was honoured for his work at London's Old Vic theatre, and to funnyman and author David Walliams for his performance as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along was named 2013's Best Musical, while director Lucy Kirkwood picked up the Best Play award for Chimerica.
The event was hosted by Homeland star Damian Lewis.
Scottish actor Peter Capaldi has been named the new Doctor Who. The World War Z star was announced as the latest timelord during a TV special in England on Sunday (04Aug13).
He'll take over from the current 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, who will depart the series after filming the upcoming annual Christmas special.
Capaldi was a clear favourite to become the new Doctor Who before Sunday's big announcement - British bookmakers suspended betting on the chances of the actor taking the role after his odds fell drastically to 5/6.
Ben Daniels, Rory Kinnear, Idris Elba and Daniel Rigby were all considered front-runners following Smith's announcement he would be leaving the show at the end of the year (13).
BBC bosses will announce Matt Smith's replacement on cult U.K. show Doctor Who live on TV on Sunday (04Aug13). Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw and Rory Kinnear have all been tipped as favourites to play the next Time Lord.
Skyfall star Rory Kinnear has signed on to play enigmatic aristocrat Lord Lucan in a new British TV drama. The actor's two-part project will mark the 40th anniversary of the 7th Earl of Lucan's mysterious disappearance following the death of his children's nanny in 1974.
Former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston and Sir Michael Gambon will also appear in the drama, which is based on John Pearson's book The Gamblers.
Filming will begin in London in August, according to the BBC.
James Bond star Rory Kinnear has disappointed Doctor Who fans by dispelling rumours linking him to the lead role in the sci-fi TV show. A number of actors have been tipped to take over from Matt Smith as the TV Time Lord after he steps down at the end of the year (13), but Skyfall star Kinnear was by far the bookmakers' favourite.
Executives at U.K. firm Ladbrokes recently suspended bets on his appointment amid rumours he had been formally offered the job, but Kinnear has now spoken out to insist he is not going to be the next Doctor.
He tells Britain's The Independent, "I don't know where it (the story) came from and how these things evolve. I haven't been and I am totally certain that I will not be asked to be the next Doctor Who. If I was an actor who was really longing to play Doctor Who, then this would be torturous, but it's a programme I've never watched, so I don't even really know what it is...
"I really enjoy acting. So the idea of doing the same part over a number of years is not something I've longed for."