Red Hot Chili Peppers star Chad Smith is swapping his drum sticks for a guitar pick to take part in a charity jam session. The rocker will join more than 150 artists, including Paul Simon bandmember Mark Stewart, former Hall & Oates musician G.E. Smith and Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza, for the Guitar Mash Benefit Concert and Jam at New York's City Winery on 17 November (13) to raise funds for music education programmes.
The event will also feature an auction of signed memorabilia from stars such as Ben Harper, Steve Earle and Stephen Stills.
Actors Sean Bean and Sheridan Smith will be representing Britain at the 2013 International Emmy Awards after landing two of the nation's six nominations for the annual prizegiving. The former Game of Thrones star has scored a best actor nod for his role as a cross-dresser in U.K. TV show Accused, while the show itself, created by Jimmy McGovern, is shortlisted for best drama series.
Smith has earned recognition as best actress for her performance in another drama, Mrs Biggs, which was based on the true story of great train robber Ronnie Biggs' wife, while political thriller Secret State (TV Movie/Mini-Series), rock documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender (Arts Programming) and Chris O'Dowd's Moone Boy (Comedy) have also landed nominations for Britain.
TV productions from Brazil landed six nominations too, including two top acting nods - Marcos Palmeira will compete for the Performance by an Actor title for Mandrake Especial, while Fernanda Montenegra's role in Sweet Mother has scored her a mention in the female equivalent.
France earned a total of three nods, while Angola and Uruguay are first-time nominees.
The International Emmy Awards, which recognises excellence in international television programming outside of the U.S., will take place in New York on 25 November (13).
As previously reported, director J.J. Abrams will be feted for his career achievements with the International Emmy Founders Award at the event. Previous honourees include Ryan Murphy and Simon Cowell.
As exhausting as the Star Wars: Episode VII rumors are, we really find it hard to resist keeping up with every one of them. We've already seen the rumor mill stretch from every corner of Hollywood, from Benedict Cumberbatch (who we have already identified to be a bad choice for the movie) to Saosorie Ronan, to Simon Pegg, and so on. Now we've got even more casting reports to mull over: Latino Review adds the murky reports that Sullivan Stapleton, star of the upcoming 300: Rise of an Empire, has read for an undisclosed part in the new Star Wars film, having then gone and blabbed about it, which has some higher ups in LucasFilm seeing red. The site also tweeted that Daniel Day-Lewis was spotted eating lunch with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy. Could the legendary actor pop up in Tatooine in the near future?
In other news, it looks like Lucasfilm is begging its quest to find the new Chewbacca. In an interview with BBC News, Lanky brit Jonny Mathers, who stands at a perfectly Chewbacca-sized 7-foot-3-inches, answered a casting call for an unspecified film Disney/LucasFilm/Bad Robot production, though it doesn't take a genius to guess what film it is. (No, not Red Tails 2). Mathers says that he believes the role has to be none other than Chewbacca, since the actor who played the role in the original films was the same height as him.
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In 1996, the Coen Bros introduced us to a snow-clogged little town in North Dakota where one of the greatest crime stories of all time took place. Where quaint small-time values came head to head with city-slicker evil, and where a certain actor came head to head with a wood chipper. Seventeen years ago, Fargo helped redefine the crime film and now it's coming to your TV with a certain Hobbit in tow.
Martin Freeman has been been cast in FX's cable reboot of the Coen Bros' classic film, playing Lester Nygaard, a hapless insurance salesman partly based on the William H. Macy character in the original film. Lester's life is plagued by a nagging wife, but his situation changes drastically when a mysterious drifter named Lorde Malvo (Billy Bob Thorton) rolls into town and sets Lester down a dark path of destruction.
The new series promises to tell a whole new story in its limited 10-episode run, instead of completely following the story of the 1996 original. The very British Martin Freeman is certainly a versatile actor, but just how well will he be able to transport himself into the Coens' quirky and slightly twisted version of the American North? The actor would have to master the standard American accent — already quite a challenge for some of our favorite actors from accross the Atlantic — and then slather on a thick coating of Dakota-style singsong on top. It might be difficult for Freeman to balance between faithful recreation and parody, but if any Brit is up for the task, it's Dr. Watson himself, don't-cha-know!
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There has always been something a little bit off about the idea of J.J. Abrams directing both the new Star Wars and Star Trek films. Whenever the thought occurs to us, we get this creepy crawling sensation under our skin, like some unwritten rule is being violated. Star Wars and Star Trek are the two most iconic science fiction properties, and the fact that their new continuations are being helmed by the same guy feels sort of taboo. The two series are just so radically different. Star Wars is an action adventure story while Star Trek has always been a more adult-minded, philosophical television and film series. Now that they are both under the thumb of Anrams, there are fears that the two movie series will feel too similar. Abrams certainly has an eye for sci-fi spectacle, but he hasn't quite captured the beating heart that makes Star Trek so beloved to its fans. What if this same disconnect happens to the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII?
We already know about the rumors surrounding Benedict Cumberbatch's possible casting in the new film, but what about the rumors regarding Simon Pegg? In an interview with The Independent, Pegg denies involvment in the new film, saying, "I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to be in it, to be honest. I think J.J. should cast new faces with no stunt casting." Pegg continues, "I wouldn't want to be popped out of the film by a knowing cameo. I think it would be great to do it properly.'
Saorsie Ronan is also being rumored to be in talks for the film. Young, fresh-faced actors like Ronan are the kinds of people Abrams should be approaching. The original films succeded partly because they casted unknowns who could perform the roles without any excess baggage or expectations.
Pegg has the right idea. With the rumors of Cumberbatch's casting, It feels like J.J. Abrams might not be focusing enough on making a Star Wars movie, but making a J.J. Abrams movie, bringing his same cast of actors together for another romp through lens-flared space without considering the differences between the franchises. If the same director making both movies was weird, then having an actor as recognizable as Cumberbatch pop up in both series is downright sacrilegious. Suspension of disbelief is a fragile thing, and having Khan bellow lines on the Enterprise and then show up in the Millennium Falcon will shatter it to pieces. There is a special magic infused in both of these movies that makes them feel so different, and allows them to stand the test of time. With any hope, J.J. Abrams will see that and deliver a film that feels uniquely like Star Wars. Casting Ronan would be a step in the right direction.
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A host of British acting greats have come together to recreate a modern version of Leonardo Da Vinci's biblical painting The Last Supper. Robert Powell, who played Jesus Christ in 1970s mini-series Jesus of Nazareth, takes centre stage in the picture, with Colin Firth on his right and Julie Walters, the only woman in the it, at his left, taking the place of Mary Magdalene.
Other stars recreating the roles of Jesus' apostles are Sir Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Tom Conti, Peter Eyre, Anthony Andrews, Steven Berkoff, Tim Pigott-Smith, John Alderton and Sir Antony Sher.
Photographer Alistair Morrison, who recreated the 15th Century masterpiece, says, "My first two choices were Robert Powell who had to be Jesus, recreating the famous role played in Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth, and Julie Walters, who was asked to play Mary Magdalene and they both readily agreed. Their enthusiasm and influence helped to bring together this outstanding group of actors."
Prints of the piece, dubbed Actors' Last Supper, will go on sale at the National Portrait Gallery in London, with a percentage of profits going towards new collections.
Actor Michael Douglas was the toast of the GQ Awards in London on Tuesday night (03Sep13) as he was crowned Legend of the Year. A week after his separation from wife Catherine Zeta-Jones was announced, a solo Douglas was beaming as he picked up the accolade at the publication's annual Men of the Year ceremony, held at the Royal Opera House in the British capital.
Douglas, who flew in from the Venice Film Festival in Italy, was handed the prize by Samuel L. Jackson, while Sir Elton John was given the Genius award by terminally-ill rocker Wilko Johnson, and Doctor Who actor Matt Smith handed Noel Gallagher the Icon trophy.
Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens picked up Most Stylish Man, Pharrell Williams got lucky landing Performer of the Year, rockers Arctic Monkeys nabbed Band of the Year and Lou Reed was hailed the Inspiration of the Year.
Accepting her trophy for Woman of the Year, former Harry Potter actress Emma Watson joked, "Given the perilousness in the journey from child star to adult, any award with woman in the title is frankly a relief!"
Watson's My Week with Marilyn co-star Eddie Redmayne was also feted, taking home the Breakthrough Award, while Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were crowned the Comedians of the Year, and newsman Piers Morgan nabbed TV Personality of the Year.
Britain's leading comedy stars including Rowan Atkinson, Simon Pegg and Stephen Fry have paid tribute to British funnyman Mel Smith following his death on Friday (19Jul13). The 60-year-old comedian passed away at his home in north-west London after suffering a heart attack, according to his agent Michael Foster.
The news has sent a shockwave through the U.K. comedy scene and a number of Smith's friends and co-stars have expressed their grief in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Smith's longtime collaborator Griff Rhys Jones, who worked with him on Alas Smith and Jones and Not the Nine O'Clock News, says in a statement, "I still can't believe this has happened. To everybody who ever met him, Mel was a force for life. He had a relish for it that seemed utterly inexhaustible. He inspired love and utter loyalty and he gave it in return. I will look back on the days working with him as some of the funniest times that I have ever spent."
Mr. Bean star Atkinson also worked with the late funnyman on Not the Nine O'Clock News, and Smith directed his 1997 movie Bean.
He says in a statement, "Mel Smith - a lovely man of whom I saw too little in his later years. I loved the sketches that we did together on Not the Nine O'Clock News. He was the cast member with whom I felt the most natural performing empathy. He had a wonderfully generous and sympathetic presence both on and off screen... I never thought he was given enough credit for this success. I feel truly sad at his parting."
Stephen Fry adds, "Terrible news about my old friend Mel Smith, dead from a heart attack. Mel lived a full life but was kind, funny and wonderful to know."
Simon Pegg hails Smith as his inspiration, adding in a post on Twitter.com, "Sad to hear about Mel Smith. His influence on contemporary British comedy both as a performer and producer is impossible to calculate."
Pegg's longtime collaborator Nick Frost also mourned Smith's loss in a post on Twitter.com, while tributes have come in from Hollywood actor Jamie Bell, who called his death a great loss to British comedy, along with Richard E. Grant, James Corden, Matt Lucas, director Duncan Jones, and Peter Serafinowicz.
Smith was one of the leading lights of British comedy throughout the 1980s and he also teamed with Griff Rhys Jones to found TalkBack Productions, a TV company which produced popular comedies including Smack the Pony, Da Ali G Show and I'm Alan Partridge.
He also worked as a writer and director, helming movies including Bean and 2001's High Heels and Low Lifes.
His movie appearances as an actor included roles in The Princess Bride and National Lampoon's European Vacation.
A new West End production of black comedy The Ladykillers starring Ralf Little and Simon Day has raised a laugh among U.K. theatre critics after opening in the British capital this week (beg08Jul13). The Royle Family star Little, Gregory's Girl actor John Gordon Sinclair and Shakespeare in Love's Day are among the ensemble cast in the new show which also includes theatre veterans Con O'Neill, Chris McCalphy and Angela Thorne.
The play, about a group of criminals who pose as amateur musicians to take a room in the house of an eccentric old lady, opened at London's Vaudeville Theatre on Tuesday (09Jul13) and it convinced even the toughest critics to crack a smile.
Charles Spencer of Britain's Daily Telegraph insists the new production, adapted for the stage by Father Ted writer Graham Linehan, is "even funnier" than the original 1955 movie on which it is based.
He writes, "The great thing about the film is that it is at times genuinely chilling as well as hilarious... (This) hugely enjoyable stage production... never quite matches the creepiness of the original. I would venture to suggest, however, that it is even funnier than the movie."
The Guardian's Michael Billington praises the show's move into "slapstick" comedy, while Mark Shenton of industry publication The Stage describes the production as a "giddy summer delight that provides plenty of good reasons for theatregoers to go indoors again" and he also praises the "stellar cast" and "infinite skills" of the actors.
The opening night audience was packed full of famous faces including actress Sheridan Smith and Spooks star Rupert Penry-Jones, who turned out to support his mother Angela Thorne, as well as comedienne Victoria Wood and Simon Day's The Fast Show co-star Paul Whitehouse.
Soul sensation Adele stepped back into the spotlight on Friday (21Jun13) to salute her record label boss at a New York City gala. The British singer has made only a handful of public appearances since giving birth to her son Angelo James last year (Oct12), but she made an exception to fete Columbia Records chairman Rob Stringer.
Adele appeared at the star-studded UJA-Federation of New York event at The Pierre hotel in Manhattan to hand Stringer the Music Visionary Award.
Accepting his prize, Stringer recalled meeting the Rolling in the Deep hitmaker in 2007 before she found fame: "Your career is defined by the people you work with. Six years ago, that young lady walked into our office with her manager and said, 'Yeah, this'll do,' with a cigarette in her mouth. It's fantastic to have her here... She doesn't get out much."
Neil Diamond, Jay-Z and John Legend were among those in the audience, while Haim and John Mayer performed songs to honour their label boss.
Celine Dion, Daft Punk, Patti Smith, Simon Cowell, Pharrell Williams, One Direction, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and Steven Tyler also appeared in a video compilation thanking and congratulating Stringer.