Unlikely duo Beyonce and British singer Ed Sheeran teamed up to cover Stevie Wonder's hits at a Grammy Awards tribute concert on Tuesday (10Feb15). The Halo hitmaker opened the All-Star Grammy Salute show with an energetic rendition of Wonder's hit Fingertips, even performing in the aisles of the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles as she approached the veteran superstar for a hug.
Sheeran then joined her onstage to perform a medley of Master Blaster and Higher Ground, and footage shows Beyonce dancing in a black and gold dress as Sheeran, in jeans, strums his guitar.
Later in the concert, Ne-Yo duetted with Wonder's daughter Aisha on Isn't She Lovely, a song written by the music legend after her birth, and the star-studded line-up also included musical tributes from Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams and Jennifer Hudson.
LL Cool J and Gladys Knight both gave speeches, and other performances came from OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, Ariana Grande, Annie Lennox, John Legend and Tony Bennett.
For the finale, Wonder performed Superstitious and You Are the Sunshine of My Life as the celebrities gathered around his piano.
Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life - An All-Star Grammy Salute will be televised in the U.S. on 16 February (15).
Rap mogul Marion 'Suge' Knight has surrendered himself to cops investigating a fatal car crash that left his pal dead. The Death Row Records founder arrived at a police station in California on Thursday night (29Jan15) hours after a truck he had allegedly been driving collided with his friend Terry Carter, killing him.
A second man, actor Cle Sloan, was also struck by the vehicle but was not seriously hurt in the accident in Compton, California.
Knight's lawyer James Blatt had earlier claimed the hip-hop heavyweight had been attacked by two people prior to the incident and was trying to escape when the accident happened.
According to ABC7 Eyewitness News, Knight was seen arriving at the West Hollywood Sheriff's Station late on Thursday night.
Blatt says, "We are confident that once the investigation is completed, he will be totally exonerated. He was in the process of being physically assaulted by two men and in an effort to escape he unfortunately hit two individuals. He was in his car trying to escape."
Lieutenant John Corina, of the L.A. County Sheriff's department, has revealed the driver of the truck allegedly struck the victims twice, saying, "Looks like he drove backwards and struck the victims and drove forwards and struck them again. The people we talked to say it looked like it was an intentional act."
The Matrix star Keanu Reeves has revealed he tried to claw his way into the X-Men franchise as Wolverine and put his name forward to portray Batman in director Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. The movie star lost out to Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale and admits both peers did a great job as comic book superheroes.
He tells Moviefone.com, "I always wanted to play Wolverine, but I didn't get that. And they have a great Wolverine now.
"I always wanted to play the Dark Knight but I didn't get that one (either). They've had some great Batmans."
Reeves is now hoping his blockbuster comeback in action film John Wick will help him land a few huge roles in the future.
He tells Indiewire.com, "I haven't been getting many offers from the studios... It sucks, but it's just the way it is."
Mark Wahlberg confirmed reports his brother Donnie and actress/model Jenny Mccarthy wed in Chicago, Illinois on Sunday (31Aug14) by tweeting his congratulations.
The couple teased the media in July (14) when announcing plans to wed in McCarthy's hometown of Chicago on 15 August, but reports suggest the nuptials took place in suburb St. Charles over the weekend - and groom Wahlberg's movie star brother was a no-show. He may have missed the wedding, but Mark made an effort to congratulate his brother on his big day, tweeting, "Congratulations@DonnieWahlberg and @JennyMcCarthy, so happy for you both today."
The actor, his wife Rhea Durham and their kids also filmed an Instagram video congratulating the newlyweds and posted it online, revealing they were celebrating daughter Ella's 11th birthday in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile in St. Charles, McCarthy's former The View co-star Sherri Shepherd was on hand for the ceremony at the Hotel Baker, as well as Wahlberg's New Kids on the Block bandmates Jordan Knight and Danny Wood, according to local newspaper The Courier-News.
The wedding is the second for both stars - Wahlberg has two sons from his nine-year marriage to Kim Fey, which ended in divorce in 2008, and McCarthy shares a son, Evan, with her ex John Asher. They divorced in 2005.
Actor Jamie Foxx partied with politicians on Saturday night (16Aug14) by inviting former presidential candidate John Mccain and New Jersey governor Chris Christie to join him onstage for a dance at a star-studded fundraiser. The Ray star was a guest at the annual Apollo in the Hamptons bash and he made an extra special effort to get the party swinging.
He took to the stage and invited Christie to join him for a dance, before Senator McCain got up to join in, swiftly followed by Sir Paul McCartney and director Spike Lee.
After the stunt, Foxx told New York Post gossip column Page Six, "Its always the ones you don't expect. Republicans love to dance - in the Hamptons."
Other guests at the event, organised by business magnate Ron Perelman, included Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Barbra Streisand, Roger Waters, Anjelica Huston, and Don Johnson.
The audience enjoyed performances by Pharrell Williams, Sting, Gladys Knight, and Jon Bon Jovi at the fundraiser, which netted $4 million (£2.4 million) for development projects at New York's famous Apollo Theatre.
At the close of the evening, Nicholson told Page Six, "That was one hell of a night. Christie really held his own. I told him, as he walked back to his seat, 'Governor, you can't let New Jersey down.'"
Getty Images/Anthony Harvey
Since Gwendoline Christie joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII back in June, rumors have leaked that Brienne of Tarth will be going over to the Dark Side. According to Badass Digest, Christie will play an imperial Commander – specifically, the commanding officer who hunts down John Boyega’s character after he deserts his post. But as exciting as the idea of Christie playing the antagonist is, there’s a bit more to this rumor, as the site also posits that her role was originally written for a man.
Send your minds back several months, when casting announcements for the film were just a distant hope and every actor in Hollywood was reportedly in talks for the role. Around that time, Benedict Cumberbatch was one of the names being thrown around for a part, and as Badass Digest says, he was in talks to play an Imperial Officer. According to one of their sources, a major role in the film was re-written from male to female, all of which leads them to believe that Christie’s role is indeed the one that has been gender swapped.
It might just be a rumor, but it’s an exciting one, and outlets and fans have already shown support for director J.J. Abrams’ decision to make such a progressive change to the Star Wars universe. Casting a woman as an authoritative villain isn’t unheard of, but it is rare, and giving the role to someone like Christie over an actor like Cumberbatch is an interesting, unexpected twist on the typical sci-fi archetypes. It’s always a big deal when major blockbusters have better roles for female character than just being the films’ eye candy or damsel in distress, but to have Abrams make such a significant change to this particular universe also helps modernize things a bit. The original films might have had a strong female character in Leia, but she was the only prominent female character; by contrast, Episode VII seems to be lining up several complex, surprising roles for their actresses, including Lupita Nyong’o’s rumored Sith and Daisy Ridley’s alleged Jedi knight.
Whether we like it or not, roles like an Imperial Commander are generally thought of as male ones, and so casting Christie in such a role subverts the typical expectations that the role would be played by the standard “British white guy” that has become the go-to type for blockbuster villains. It opens the door for more women to take on roles like that, ones that we might subconsciously consider to be a manly character, which in turn opens the door for more Hollywood blockbusters and sci-fi projects to diversify their cast lists a bit.
But even though we might automatically consider an Imperial Commander to be a man, it might not have be written that way in the first place. There’s nothing in the character description to suggest that it wasn’t a gender-neutral role all along. It’s entirely possible that the script has always called for a woman to play the part, especially since Cumberbatch was in talks for the film back when they were using a script from Michael Arndt. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan have since taken over as writers, so it’s entirely possible that this Imperial Commander is a completely different one than the character that Cumberbatch was up for.
Still, even if the role was meant for Christie all along, it’s hard not to get excited about seeing such a talented actress get a prominent, compelling role. Her performance as Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones has proven that she can be both compelling and compassionate, both of which will likely come into play in her Star Wars role. In fact, she might even be better suited to this role than Cumberbatch would have been, as she has a great deal of experience portraying a character that is often authoritative and intimidating. Whether or not the Imperial Commander role was written for her, it’s hard to imagine anyone, male or female, who could do a better job with it than Christie could.
Besides, if she’s half as good with a light saber as she is with a sword, she’ll have no trouble keeping the entire galaxy in line.
Angelina Jolie and Daniel Day-Lewis have been recognised by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in her Birthday Honours List. The actress has been named an honorary dame, while fellow Oscar winner Day-Lewis will be knighted.
Jolie learned of the honour in London this week (beg09Jun14), while she was co-hosting an international summit on sexual violence.
She won't be entitled to use her new royal title because she is not a British or Commonwealth citizen, but she joins fellow Americans Steven Spielberg, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former President Ronald Reagan, who have previously received honorary titles from the Queen.
Among the soldiers, charity heroes, civil servants and entrepreneurs to receive honours, Day-Lewis will be able to add 'Sir' to his name after becoming a knight for "services to drama".
The Lincoln star admits he was, "entirely amazed and utterly delighted in equal measure" to discover he had made the list.
There were also damehoods for Booker Prize-winning novelist Hilary Mantel and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, while beloved actress Dame Maggie Smith, who portrays the Dowager Countess of Grantham on TV's Downton Abbey, was made a Companion of Honor, and becomes one of only 65 people "of distinction" in the U.K., and Homeland star Damian Lewis has been named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
He says, "I decided to do the very un-British thing of accepting the compliment."
Author Hunter Davies, actress Phyllida Law and musician Talvin Singh also received OBEs, while physicist Thomas Kibble and pianist Andra Schiff have been honoured with knighthoods.
Also making the annual honours list is singer and DJ Cerys Matthews and actor John Barrowman, who have both been awarded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medals (CBEs).
A campaign to make rocker Ozzy Osbourne a knight is gathering pace after his daughter Kelly threw her weight behind it. Public support for Australian super-fan Helen Maidiotis' campaign has mounted since Kelly backed it online, writing on Twitter.com, "I think this really needs to happen!" alongside a link to the project's Facebook.com page.
The petition had received 13,880 signatures on Tuesday (10Jun14), around 6,000 short of its 20,000 target.
In a note to Britain's Honours and Appointments Secretariat David Spooner, posted on Causes.com, Maidiotis writes, "I am petitioning for Ozzy Osbourne, frontman for Black Sabbath to receive a Knighthood after over 40 years of service to the music industry. Birmingham born John Michael Osbourne, has been entertaining and inspiring a great many throughout his life, he has been a huge success world wide with many successful albums with both Black Sabbath as well as in his solo career.
"Now in his mid 60's (sic), I believe the time has come for him to receive a Knighthood. Please consider Mr Osbourne for this honour as it is well deserved and long over due."
Fox Searchlight via Everett Collection
Back when Star Wars VII announced its first rally of official players, we tackled each name on the list with a brief bit of professional history and our hopes and expectations for that with which he or she might be tasked for the upcoming film. You can check out our rundown here, which enveloped the Star Wars vets as well as franchise newcomers Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Max von Sydow, Domhnall Gleeson, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley. But today's news, via StarWars.com, about Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie (oh yeah, and a leaked set photo, via TMZ, revealing a practical monster) calls for another round of introductions.
Lupita Nyong'oBest known as: Patsey, the tortured slave of psychopathic plantation owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) in 12 Years a Slave. The role won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.Age: 31.In the new movie: Nyong'o's Star Wars character is anyone's guess at this point, but her tremendous command of scene-stealing gravity should land her a pretty meaty role. Perhaps a tad too old (even with the practice of actors playing years below their age) to portray a classmate of presumed central characters, the offspring of Han and Leia, and we'd guess too high profile a figure to take on a tertiary role like teacher or soldier. So we're leaning towards high-ranking officer in the plight against... whatever they're dealing with this time. As long as she has plenty of convicted diatribes and steady close-ups.
Gwendoline ChristieBest known as: Brienne of Tarth, swordsmith and Stark loyalist on Game of Thrones.Age: 35 or 36.In the new movie: Lightsabers. It's practically a given. Knowing how handy she is with a weapon on Game of Thrones, J.J. Abrams couldn't pass up the opportunity to give Christie Star Wars' answer to the sword. As such, this would land her in the Jedi Knight camp, though be she one of pure motive or corrupted soul is another question yet unanswered.
This ThingBest known as: The weird picture you saw a bunch of people sharing on Twitter on Monday morning, worrying that another experiment from Long Island's animal testing facility had washed up on shore.Age: Mid 40s?In the new movie: The suggestion that Star Wars VII will be heavy with practical effects is an encouraging one. Our friend here will probably be relegated to transporting a hero or two (or maybe just cargo), but he likely won't be the film's lone hand-crafted creature.
Keep watch for more additions to the cast!
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection/Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection
As Memorial Day approaches, American moviegoers prepare for an onslaught of summer blockbusters. Whether it's the latest edition of a franchise like X-Men: Days of Future Past or the possible beginning of one like Guardians of the Galaxy, everyone has gotten used to big, expensive films hitting the multiplex when the weather gets warm.
Of course, it wasn't always that way. The mid '70s work of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas helped usher in the current model that studios use in setting their summer releases. While the work of the two directors is iconic, what's followed hasn't always lived up to the term "blockbuster." Our writers argue whether things were better in the days when Lucas and Spielberg ruled the roost or if we're in a new golden age of big budget extravaganzas.
The Spectacular Spielberg (Jon Lisi)
Let’s just assume for a second that Jaws was never released in the summer of 1975.
Cynics might claim that the brilliant New Hollywood films of the 1970s like Five Easy Pieces, Nashville, and The Conversation would continue to be made as a result, but we all know that this so-called “American New Wave” was on the inevitable decline. Instead, we’d have to imagine a cinema in which the first major summer blockbuster from Hollywood was not Spielberg’s terrifying monster movie.
Is it possible to picture the summer blockbuster without Jaws? I don’t think so. For better or worse, Jaws is the gold standard to which all future summer blockbusters have been judged. The question that is asked as a result, then, is whether or not contemporary summer blockbusters like Transformers, Iron Man, The Avengers and other superhero amalgamations compare in quality to past summer blockbusters like Jaws, E.T., Back to the Future, and Ghostbusters?
If we are to answer this question honestly, we need to remove any consideration of money. After all, plenty of movies do well at the box office, and the massive success of the Twilight franchise shows how few of them are actually good. Instead, we need to focus on what the first summer blockbusters like Jaws and Star Wars had that contemporary ones like Transformers and Iron Man lack.
The most significance difference, I think, is that a summer blockbuster like Jaws isn’t about a shark, whereas a summer blockbuster like Transformers is about alien robots. That is, Jaws uses a series of shark attacks to investigate small-town mentality in an entertaining way. You can certainly sit back and enjoy the film literally — as a monster movie — but Spielberg wants you to think about what the shark reveals about American community and the ways individuals work together to solve a common problem.
Transformers, by contrast, doesn’t offer anything interesting beyond the initial spectacle. The digital effects may lure you into the theater, but after the stuff blows up, you aren’t left with anything to ponder. This may not matter to prepubescent boys, but for those interested in mainstream fare that is also intelligent, the contemporary summer blockbuster doesn’t suffice.
I’m aware that there are exceptions. For instance, the films by Christopher Nolan merge commerce and art quite successfully, as do most Pixar films. However, these are anomalies, and for the most part, contemporary summer blockbusters have failed to live up to the standard Jaws set nearly 40 years ago.
A Marvel-ous New Era (Brendon McCullin)
The passage of time tends to lend a glow to the early blockbusters of Spielberg and Lucas. In reality, Spielberg went the Hitchcock route with Jaws because he was forced to by external conditions. And we can argue how much the performances by Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw had to do with his directing. Lucas, for his part, might have been great at story concepts but he always had a tin ear when it came to dialogue (leading to the famous Harrison Ford rant, "You can type this s**t, but you sure as hell can't say it").
That's not to denigrate what Spielberg and Lucas did — they each authored cultural phenomena that altered American filmmaking and the movie industry as a whole — but let's not go too crazy. Some of their contemporaries, particularly screenwriters like John Milius and Robert Towne, may have liked them personally, but didn't always love how they handled their craft.
The fact is there has always been and will always be a place in Hollywood for big, crowd-pleasing popcorn movies… and there have always been good and bad ones. Just because Jaws was better than The Towering Inferno and Star Wars was better than Airport '77 doesn’t necessarily kick into the same strata of cinematic history as The Godfather.
If we were having this argument 15 to 20 years ago, I would be completely on board. Back when Michael Bay was unleashing a steady stream of trash like Armageddon and The Rock on audiences and what amounted to good storytelling was Will Smith making wisecracks while fighting aliens in Independence Day… well, yes, that was a low point for summer blockbusters. Heck, that was a low point for film in general.
Since then, however, a new group of filmmakers who value story as much as visual pyrotechnics have taken the lead on some of the biggest tent-pole movies in recent years. Some of them, such as Joss Whedon (The Avengers) and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) come from the writer dominated domain of television. Others, like Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Kenneth Branagh (Thor) are themselves actors and work to make their stars look good.
Combine that group with the aforementioned Nolan (The Dark Knight) and the Pixar team under John Lasseter and really, you would be hard pressed to find another period that matched the number of talented, conscientious, and literate filmmakers that are willing to helm blockbusters.
The nice thing is that many of these directors — particularly Whedon and Abrams — clearly gained some of their sensibilities as youngsters watching the films of Lucas and Spielberg. You're never going to get rid of people like Bay and movies like his Transformers franchise, but blockbusters are in as good of hands now as they've ever been.