Veteran actor Dick Van Dyke was handed the top honour at the 2014 Princess Grace Awards Gala on Wednesday (08Oct14) to celebrate his outstanding career achievements and philanthropic efforts. The Mary Poppins star was handed the Prince Rainier III award at the Los Angeles event by fellow comedian Conan O'Brien.
When the 88 year old took to the stage at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to accept the accolade in front of Princess Grace's son Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco, Van Dyke quipped that he spent the evening with royalty, saying, "I don't do that often."
The actor shared his gratitude for the honour, but also acknowledged the impact of the Princess Grace Foundation, which he credits as an organisation that was helpful in launching his own career in the 1950s.
He said, "I am so happy to be a part of this. This award means a great deal to me."
Past recipients of the prize include Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and Van Dyke's Mary Poppins co-star Julie Andrews.
Inside Llewyn Davis star Oscar Isaac also received the Princess Grace Statue Award, 10 years after he was given the initial prize that helped him stay in school after he was unable to afford his education. The grant allowed him to find a manager and agent to launch his career.
The Princess Grace Foundation was started in 1982 following the actress-turned-royal's death, and since then, it has awarded more than $10 million (£6.25 million) in scholarships, grants and fellowships to over 700 aspiring artists.
George Clooney is set to tackle the phone-hacking scandal surrounding media mogul Rupert Murdoch's empire in his next big movie project. Clooney will direct an adaptation of Nick Davies' book Hack Attack: The Inside Story of How the Truth Caught Up With Rupert Murdoch, which explores the drama that forced the tycoon to close his British Sunday newspaper the News of the World in 2011 and led to a lengthy legal ethics investigation in the U.K.
The Oscar winner, who is planning to wed his fiancee Amal Alamuddin in Italy later this month (Sep14), will co-produce the film with his longtime business partner Grant Heslov.
Announcing the news in a statement, Clooney writes, "This has all the elements - lying, corruption, blackmail - at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London. And the fact that it’s true is the best part. Nick (Davies) is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film.”
The actor/director has a personal attachment to good journalism - his father is revered newsman Nick Clooney.
Sandra Bullock is set to reunite with her Gravity co-star George Clooney for new film Our Brand is Crisis. The Oscar-winning actress has signed on to star in the film based on the 2005 documentary of the same name, about the use of American campaign tactics in South America.
Bullock, who has been linked to the project for months, officially signed on for the movie after Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green committed to take on the film, according to Variety.com.
Bullock will also serve as an executive producer, along with Clooney and his producing partner Grant Heslov.
Actor James Caan and Barbra Streisand led tributes to their late pal Lauren Bacall following the actress' death on Tuesday (12Aug14). The 89-year-old movie legend died after suffering a stroke at her home in Manhattan, New York.
Caan, who worked with Bacall in 1990's Misery, shared his sorrow in a statement to Entertainment Weekly which reads, "She was a great, uplifting lady who was full of talent and fun. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her. I will miss her dearly."
Barbra Streisand, who directed Bacall in The Mirror Has Two Faces, says to Billboard.com, "What a terrible loss for us all... It was my privilege to have known her, to have acted with her, and to have directed her... And, most of all, to have had her as a wise and loving friend. She was an original. Even with all those great films we can visit again and again, she will be missed."
Alec Baldwin writes on Twitter.com, "The great Betty Bacall (her birth name) is gone. Read her first autobiography, BY MYSELF. I love that book," while KISS rocker Gene Simmons adds, "Lauren Bacall - sad. R.I.P. She was a class act. She will be missed."
Alan Cumming uploaded a picture of himself with the late actress and writes, "You are a sensation and a killer! (First thing BB ever said to me) RIP Betty you sensational killer," and Richard E. Grant adds, "Worked with Lauren 'Betty' Bacall who called herself a 'Broad'.Took no prisoners, but if she liked you, you were friends for life. Unique."
Other stars have sent their condolences via social media, including John Cusack, Stephen Merchant, Belinda Carlisle, Boy George, Dita Von Teese and Lynda Carter.
Reformed 1980s band Culture Club are swapping pop for classical music by teaming up with the BBC Philharmonic orchestra for a reimagining of their classic album Colour By Numbers. The Karma Chameleon hitmakers are among the musicians taking part in the upcoming BBC Philharmonic Presents... series of concerts aimed at broadening the appeal of orchestral music.
They will take part in a classical rendition of their chart-topping 1983 album at the concert next month (Sep14), and the performance will be broadcast on BBC radio.
The corporation's director of music Bob Shennan says the new season will showcase a wide range of music, adding, "There will be something for everyone."
Other stars taking part in the 2014 BBC Philharmonic Presents... event include U.S. musician John Grant and British band Clean Bandit.
With each season, fans of Game of Thrones tend to separate themselves into two camps: those that have read the book series on which the show is based, A Song of Ice and Fire, and those that have not. As someone who has labored through reading the first three installments of the series, I may be a bit biased, but I can at least admit that the gargantuan novels aren’t for everyone. However, if you’re still unsure of whether to read the books (I’ll try not to pressure you — but I still think you probably should), we’ve put together a helpful pro and con list.
Pro: You’ll Never be Spoiled
At least, in the context of Game of Thrones (it won’t help with House of Cards or Scandal spoilers). Anyone who started reading A Song of Ice and Fire after watching Game of Thrones probably did so in order to find out what happened next without waiting for a new season — at least, that’s why I did.
Con: You Won’t Entirely Appreciate the Show’s Shock Factor
The downside of never being spoiled is that you’ll also never be shocked. Sure, seeing how the Red and Purple Weddings were portrayed on screen was interesting for book fans (and watching the reactions of other fans was entertaining as well), but those scenes didn’t have the same impact for everyone who knew they were coming.
Pro: More Explanation of Westeros
We’ll grant you, the page-long descriptions of each house’s sigil and half-chapters dedicated to a rundown of a seven-course feast can be a bit tiresome, but with all the exposition comes a better understanding of Westeros. There’s also a map and reference section that explains the family trees so it’s a bit easier to keep track of all the characters than on the show.
Con: Some Aspects are Lost in Translation
As the recent debate over a particularly controversial scene in the third episode of Season 4 illustrates, many fans are at times disappointed (to put it lightly) with how the story is adapted. Reading the books allows viewers to better understand certain characters and scenes because there is more detail and context, but this also raises expectations for what we inevitably see onscreen.
Pro: Some Differences Are Fun
For example: Sansa and Shae’s relationship, Bronn teaching Jamie how to swordfight with his left hand, and Ros make no appearance in the books. These differences are fun for book readers because they provide a new and different take on the characters that they didn’t already have at their disposal.
Con: The Books Are So Long
There’s no getting around it. They’re long and dense and a serious commitment. But if you put in the time, A Song of Ice and Fire is definitely worth it.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Jonah Hill is the most unlikely movie star. He isn't particularly "handsome" like those who came before him, such as Rudolph Valentino, Cary Grant, or even George Clooney. Hollywood producers don't develop movies for him, and he is rarely given the leading role. In another time, Hill might have been a consistently reliable character actor like Harry Dean Stanton whose presence elevates certain films but whose name is largely unrecognized by the general moviegoing audience. Today, however, Hill is a household name, and his appearance in more films signifies a change in both industry and audience practices.
Unlike most character actors who express their versatility in diverse supporting roles, Hill presents a star persona that is specific to his skills as a performer. In his scene-stealing cameo in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, for example, Hill creates humor out of an awkward encounter. Hill's deadpan delivery forces the audience to laugh at his character's cringeworthy interactions. The character is painful to watch, and the audience is embarrassed for him, but Hill's ability to own the absurdity of the situation turns the scene into comedy gold.
The same can be said about Hill's supporting turn in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Hill plays a different character in the film and is given more screen time, but he similarly finds humor in awkwardness. He approaches the scene as a serious actor would, but the combination of his intention (to promote his music) and the situation (intruding upon an intimate conversation between two characters) creates an embarrassing moment that is so absurd the audience can't help but laugh.
Hill would push this persona to the extreme in Cyrus, a hilarious comedy in which he plays a young man who still lives with his mother Molly (Marisa Tomei). John C. Reilly's character begins dating Molly and must deal with Hill's abnormalities. In the scene below, Hill threatens Reilly to back off, and as usual, he turns an awkward situation into comedy. Hill plays the scene intensely as if it were a drama, but the absurd premise of the film and Hill's association with it triggers the audience to laugh.
Hill would continue to develop and expand this persona in other films, including his Oscar nominated turns in both Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street. In the former, Hill is as subdued as he's ever been, but there's always an element of humor in even the simplest line readings. By contrast, his work in the latter is over-the-top, and although he shows a side of himself moviegoers have never seen, he still manages to sneak in his awkward screen persona. Consider, for instance, the scene below in which Hill explains to Leonardo DiCaprio's character his abnormal relationship with his cousin. The combination of Hill's physical appearance (those teeth!) and his earnest delivery once again force the audience to laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
This is not to say that Hill lacks talent, because I personally think that he's one of cinema's most exciting performers. However, with each film appearance, Hill cultivates a unique star persona that is unlike anything we've seen before. He lacks the traditional handsomeness of other male movie stars and he isn't expected or required to play the leading role. Yet his signature is always stamped on each film he's in, and all of his performances adhere to his persona while simultaneously expanding it. Like some of Hill's more famous co-stars such as Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, Hill has become a beloved household name. Unlike them, Hill is carving a new path for movie stars of a different kind, and it will be exciting to see where he goes next.
Stevie Nicks will hit the stage with her pals in Lady Antebellum at the upcoming 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards. The Fleetwood Mac singer and the Need You Now hitmakers became fast friends while working on a TV special together last year (13) and now the quartet will team up again on country music's big night.
They will join Eric Church, Toby Keith, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line and The Band Perry as performers at the ceremony, which will be staged at the MGM Grant Garden Arena in Las Vegas on 6 April (14).
Filmmaker George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson have donated $25 million (£15.6 million) to a private school in Chicago, Illinois through their organisation The George Lucas Family Foundation. The grant will be used to build a new arts hall at the university's Laboratory Schools, which will be named after musician and photographer Gordon Parks.
A statement from the Star Wars director reads: "We believe in the power of art to transform lives and communities. Gordon Parks' work did just that."
Hobson adds, "It was important to us that the University of Chicago campus have a building named for an African American, given the diverse community in which it sits, and the outstanding contributions to our society by people of color."
This isn't the first donation they have made to a Chicago-area education institution - they have also pledged $25 million to education charity After School Matters.
George Clooney and his producing partner Grant Heslov have scored the remake rights for acclaimed European thriller Pioneer. The Norwegian film, set in the 1980s, was directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg and became a hit at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival in Canada. It starred Aksel Hennie and American actors Wes Bentley and Stephen Lang.