British actor Luke Evans is planning to step behind the camera to make his directorial debut with a new short film. The Clash of the Titans star reveals he is currently working on the as-yet-untitled movie's script with pal Chris Chibnall, who penned his BBC drama The Great Train Robbery, and Evans is keen to bring the story to life himself.
He tells Collider.com, "I'm trying to sort out a short film that I'm writing with a friend of mine, which I would like to direct for my own self, really.
"I think it'll probably end up being about a 20-minute film. I'm not exactly sure, because we haven't totally finished the script yet."
Evans adds, "Directing is something I've always felt like I'd like to do at one point and I thought the best way to start is to write something myself or with someone and I'd go from there. My own material."
He is hoping to draw from his own experiences working with the likes of Peter Jackson on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to turn his first project as director into a success.
Evans says, "I guess once you've been acting for a long time you glean the great bits of good directors and the bad bits from other directors and you know the way that you would like to be directed. Look at Clint Eastwood, for example. There's a lot of directors who were actors, so they have the sensibility of an actor, which sometimes helps."
Actor Samuel L. Jackson is considering joining forces with Mark Hamill and Ewan Mcgregor to lobby director J.J. Abrams in person for roles in the new Star Wars sequel after revealing he hasn't been invited to reprise his sci-fi character. The Django Unchained star, who portrayed Jedi Master Mace Windu in three of the six Star Wars films, recently found himself working with Hamill in London and decided to ask the original Luke Skywalker if he had officially been offered a job in Abrams' upcoming seventh film.
He also quizzed McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi opposite him in the most recent films, about Star Wars: Episode VII and was surprised to discover that none of the trio had been recruited for the top secret project.
Jackson tells U.S. talk show host David Letterman, "I asked Mark if he'd heard from J.J. Abrams and he said, 'No', and then all of a sudden, Ewan was there (in London) and I spoke to him on the phone, asked him if he was there doing Star Wars. He said, 'No, they haven't called me.'
"So I was thinking, maybe all three of us could just get together and go over to the Star Wars set and just stand around and see if maybe they could use some old Jedi! And then I heard on television they were auditioning people for Star Wars and I said, 'Well, maybe we should just go through the auditions and see if we can get a job!'"
Jackson admits he's a little disappointed at the prospect of not appearing in Episode VII after making it clear to Abrams that he would jump at the chance to return to the franchise after they were both guests at Star Wars creator George Lucas' summer (13) nuptials.
He adds, "I pretty much hinted to J.J. that I wanted to be in the film at George Lucas' wedding, and he was kinda like, 'Mmm', that was about the most I got out of him."
Official casting announcements have yet to be made, but Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher had all previously been asked by Lucas to make appearances in the forthcoming sequel, while young actors Michael B. Jordan and Irish beauty Saoirse Ronan have confirmed that they recently auditioned for parts.
Production on Star Wars: Episode VII is set to begin in the U.K. early next year (14).
Dukes Of Hazzard stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider are hoping to team up as brothers again onstage. The former co-stars portrayed Bo and Luke Duke in the beloved 1980s TV series and Schneider reveals they're keen to play siblings again.
He tells BlogTalkRadio.com, "We wanted to play brothers on stage and you know we've looked around and can't find anything... It would be great to do a musical... (Maybe) Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Or someone could write an original musical, but they better hurry because Tom's old!"
And the actor admits he and Wopat would also like to hit the stage in a revival of Neil Simon's classic play The Odd Couple, rotating roles played on the big screen by Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.
He adds, "The idea we had was to do The Odd Couple and to switch roles every other night. He'd (Wopat) be Felix one night and I'd be Felix the next night. We could pull it off."
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy officially announced at Star Wars Celebration Europe II, a gathering for international fans of that Galaxy Far, Far Away, that legendary composer John Williams is in fact gearing up to make the jump to hyperspace once again. It is now confirmed that he will indeed be writing the score for J.J. Abrams' still-untitled Episode VII, just as he has for the previous six installments of George Lucas' saga.
"The Galaxy Far, Far Away...I actually feel like I'm still in it, that I've never really left it," Williams then said in a pre-recorded video Kennedy introduced. And no wonder...for almost all Star Wars fans, Williams' blaring fanfare and iconic triple-beat theme music is Star Wars. The composer lent a symphonic grandeur to a story of farmboys, nerf herders, droids, and walking carpets that enshrined it forever as the quintessential example of pop culture mythmaking.
However, Williams says that he hasn't seen the script yet for Episode VII and basically has no idea what he will be scoring. Still, he says he "can't imagine there won't be references to the existing stories," which means that some of his leitmotifs — musical themes attached to a particular character, like "Luke's Theme" or "Leia's Theme" — may return.
Kennedy and Abrams have already shown themselves to be keen on honoring Star Wars' past — shooting Episode VII in England, just like the original trilogy, for example. Hiring back Williams is the perfect way to show that this is the Star Wars you know and love...even as it plunges us into uncharted galactic territory.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
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British actor Luke Treadaway has recruited Dame Helen Mirren and Doctor Who star Matt Smith to take part in his upcoming gala to raise money for autism charities. The 28-year-old Clash of the Titans star was inspired to organise the event after playing a teen diagnosed with the condition in hit play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at London's Apollo Theatre.
Treadaway, who won an Olivier Award for the role last month (Apr13), explains, "When I started doing the play I had gone to lots of schools to research autism. Even though the schools are incredible, 90 per cent (of those students) are unemployed when they leave. I felt that so many of them would be able to work and have a social life, but are not given the opportunity."
The Brit reveals Mirren, who is also currently performing in the West End theatre district, was keen to take part: "I dropped a letter into the stage door, and she got back to me by email within an hour."
Singer Bat For Lashes will perform at the theatrical gala, while Smith is auctioning a tea date with him at London's Ritz hotel.
Proceeds generated by A Curious Night at the Theatre, scheduled for 1 July (13), will benefit Ambitious About Autism and The National Autistic Society.
When Harry Met Sally asked the age of question of "Can men and women be friends?" back in 1989, answered it (nope), and yet generations after are still plagued by it. Scores of movies about relationship dynamic grey areas — No Strings Attached, Friends with Benefits, Just Friends — have all come and gone, all answering that question the same way Harry and Sally did, but without any of the charm or true insight about male and female relationships past a certain age.
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Drinking Buddies, while not a gender-specific title, once again explores that topic, only with a hell of a lot more alchohol. Luke (Jake Johnson, in full-on, charming Nick Miller-with-an-intense-beard mode) and Kate (Olivia Wilde, once and for all proving her chops as a leading lady) are co-workers at a brewery who have an intense chemisty and palpable sexual tension. So why haven't these two friends hooked up? Especially with all that booze around? Well, for starters, they're both in relationships, he with an adorable, kind gal named Jill (the delightful Anna Kendrick) and she with, well, sort of a dullard named Chris (Ron Livingtson, stepping into the semi-villain role).
They're two young, attractive pals who, by all accounts should be together. The work hard, they play hard, they make each other laugh, and they genuinely care about each other. The problem is, unlike most romantic comedy couples who build their love and admiration for each other, are acutely aware of it. These buddies often blur the line between friends and something more with not-so-innocent innocent gestures like holding hands or cuddling on the couch.
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The interesting thing about Drinking Buddies — which played like a bona-fide crowd pleaser at its premiere at the SXSW festival on Saturday night in Austin — is that it taps into every romantic comedy sensibility (the mounting tension, anticipating a "happy ending") but goes in a completely different direction. In a typical romantic comedy, Luke's girlfriend would be a monster (and despite sharing an impulsive smooch with Chris during a weekend getaway with both the couples, she is far from) and we'd be rooting for these two to finally hook up.
But, towards the last half hour of Drinking Buddies (which starts to get a little bitter and hard to swallow like, well, the very beer they've been drinking through the entire thing) Kate's attitude turns from cute to grating, and her treatment of Luke (who is no saint himself in this situation) does the unthinkable: it makes you hope they just stay friends. I won't tell you how this whole things winds up, but I will tell you this: remarkably, no one seems to have a hangover during the entire movie. Now that is something to marvel.
It's fitting that Drinking Buddies is centered around beer drinkers. Like Sideways, it perfectly taps into a certain kind of drinker and a certain kind of romance, and it's the perfect analogy for the film itself: fun, doesn't take itself too seriously, will be liked by men and women equally, and even if you love most of it, it might still leave you with something of a bitter aftertaste if you were looking for the same reliable thing.
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Johnson, as he does every week on television, steals the show here, though to be fair the entire cast (including a cameo from Wilde's real-life love Jason Sudeikis, who gets in a few big laughs in his limited screen time) is talented and a total joy to watch. During the post-screening Q&A, Wilde (who is also a producer on the project) told the audience it was the most fulfilling work of her career to date, and the enthusiasm certainly shines through.
The ingredients for a perfect comedy are all there, including keen direction from Joe Swanberg, but sometimes it can get a little foggy. (Hey, there's a lot of booze involved). Drinking Buddies really gets down to the nitty, gritty of male and female friendships and dynamics, and may ring uncomfortably true for some viewers, but in the end it's as fun as a night on the town with your best drinking buddy. Whatever your status with them might be.
[Photo credit: Ben Richardson]
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S3E11: There is something particularly strange about this week’s episode of Modern Family. Not strange in a bad way—in fact, the episode is consistently funny. On top of this, each of the storylines is legitimately interesting (Mitchell’s and Cam’s started off slow, but got there eventually). The problem I have with the episode is that it has no conclusion. There are a handful of good setups, but nothing ever comes from any of them. And more than anything else, it just feels weird.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine.” – Claire
“That’s very comforting coming from a marketing major at a party school.” – Phil
The central plot of the episode is that Phil thinks he’s dying. And it’s just as hilarious as you might expect. During a routine physical, Phil’s doctor notices tenderness under his arm and runs some tests, promising to call if he finds anything. From this moment on, Phil is (not surprisingly) an absolute wreck. He shifts gears back and forth from lashing out at Claire, telling his children—quite unsettlingly—how much he loves them, and asking a relative stranger for advice about death.
To further Phil’s anxiety, he realizes that his “lifetime supply” of razor blades that he won on a game show almost twenty years ago (cut to the most incredible, yet ridiculously silly, flashback of Phil on a 1990s game show, excitedly winning the compensation prize after answering a question incorrectly about pie—I could watch this scene over and over just for his hair) has run out: this is clearly a sign that he is about to die. Combine this with Gloria’s superstitious nightmare, and Phil all but loses it. And again…it’s too funny.
“Perhaps this will sound crazy to you…” – Javier
“No need for the qualifier.” – Jay On the whole, I’d afford Modern Family’s straight-man title to Jay. He’s regularly the most reasonable and levelheaded family member (his two children sometimes rival for the title, but they’re both a bit too high-strung). So it’s fun to see Jay lose his grip a bit—when something really gets to him, Jay is at his comedic peak. He never quite gets emotional, but that’s part of the fun of it: just how unwilling he is to allow himself to actually get upset further fuels his angst. And this week, the cause of Jay’s malaise is, once again, Gloria’s ex-husband Javier (Benjamin Bratt). But it’s not Gloria over whom Jay gets worked up; it’s Manny. Javier shows up unannounced to take Manny to the horse track. Jay tags along begrudgingly by Gloria’s insistence. However, Jay soon finds himself in combat with Javier over the role of Manny’s father figure. Whereas the smooth, cool Javier teaches Manny about betting on the races via his method of spiritually connecting with the horses and “reading their eyes,” Jay tries to instill the value of hard logic and strategy based on tangible information in order to gamble successfully. Obviously, each man’s lesson is less about horse racing and more about his general ideology and value system. Manny eagerly eats up Javier’s more romantic theories, which rapidly wears at Jay. “You may be flying high. But pretty soon you’ll be free-falling, Tom Petty. Because that’s you. Petty. Tom Petty. Get it?” – Cam “About three sentences ago.” – Mitchell At first, I wasn’t too keen on the Mitchell/Cam storyline. Mitchell comes home with a trophy for being the best environmental lawyer ever (or something), and displays it proudly on the apartment mantle. This prompts Cam to bring out one of his old fishing trophies, placing it next to Mitchell’s award. Mitchell is upset by this, thinking Cam is trying to show him up, and the two erupt into a relatively low-stakes fight. At first, the plotline is little more than a nuisance. It’s the same Mitchell vs. Cam song and dance that has us wondering if the two ever have any non-confrontational days together. But then, something interesting happens. After talking to Alex, who empathizes with her uncle—putting down both of her intellectually inferior siblings in the process—Mitchell begins to hear what he has been sounding like, and realizes that he’s been acting childish. To rectify things, he goes into Cam’s old boxes and looks through a whole bunch of trophies, hoping to display them all as a surprise. Mitchell has an overt realization that Cam has a hell of a lot more trophies than he had ever realized. And this is where I thought there might be an interesting twist. If Cam, in fact, does have so many bigger, flashier trophies, then why is this simple fishing trophy the one he holds so dear? Why is he so sensitive about Mitchell putting it down? And these are questions to which we never gets answers. Instead, Mitchell drops the box of trophies, at which point Cam walks in and assumes he destroyed them intentionally. The two never actually make up—they just set aside their differences complacently when they hear the “bad news” surrounding Phil’s health. And this isn’t the only story that goes unresolved. The Jay/Manny/Javier story never has an ending either. Jay admits in a talking head that it saddens him to be reminded that he’s not Manny’s real father. For a heavy drama, this would be conclusive enough. But Modern Family usually wraps things up with at least some kind of culminating moment of acceptance or victory for a character in this situation. The whole ordeal is never mentioned again, and Javier is used primarily as a joke in the final scene when the family comes together to support Phil and Claire. Of course, Phil is fine. His doctor returns his calls and confirms that Phil’s health and life are not in danger. The family embraces…although, there are a few missing members: all of Phil’s and Claire’s children. Throughout the episode, we see Haley studying Spanish with Gloria, Alex interacting with Mitchell and Cam, and Luke palling around with the elderly neighbor Walt (Philip Baker Hall) once more. But we never get a real reason for any of these things, or for the kids’ absence at the end of the episode. Was there more written for which the show just didn’t have time? It really seems that way. Walt’s appearance—especially after such a heartfelt introductory episode—seemed almost meaningless. Haley’s brief scene with Gloria brought nothing beyond an opportunity for Phil to interrupt with some bizarre, ominous words. Personally, I’m stumped. The episode may seem unfinished, but everything we get this week is worth watching. As usual, Phil is the MVP of the episode, bringing hilarity when making small-talk during his checkup, when erupting at Claire, and when professing his love for his children. Oh, and the game show flashback. That glorious game show flashback. Do you think the episode feels incomplete? Is there perhaps more beneath the surface that I’m missing? Do you think any of these stories will build to bigger arcs over the course of the season?
Can a Black Actor Play Spider-Man?
Earlier this week, on a quiet Sunday evening, the geek community exploded over twitter, crushed by news that one of our community’s patron saints, Guillermo del Toro was leaving The Hobbit – a project many of us had covered for years. From rumors of his attachment, to the long contract process and then two years of pre-production, this film was to be his masterpiece and we were there every step of the way. This was huge. No, this was gargantuan. We would be talking about this all of this week and into the…wait. What? A Black actor wants to audition for Spider-Man?
STOP THE PRESSES!
A dam broke. Everyone quickly came to terms with their heartbreak, and while writing up their picks for del Toro’s replacement, spent the rest of the night arguing, debating and occasionally even yelling at fellow geeks over whether or not Donald Glover (NBC's Community) could take on the role of everyone’s favorite nebbish high school nerd turned wise-cracking superhero. It occasionally even got ugly. But, unlike how some have painted it, this isn’t a matter of racism. This isn’t enlightened, empowered liberal minds on one side shouting down racists on the other; in fact this doesn’t even properly skew down racial lines. This is a question of origin.
Spider-Man was originally drawn white, and he’s existed that way for almost 50 years now. Were you to ask me last week what I thought about casting a black Spider-Man, I would have said that it depended on the actor, but that Spider-Man has always been a white character. Of course, once Glover’s name was mentioned, I changed that tune. There isn’t anyone truly interesting up for the role right now. And with the studio skewing young with hopes of having someone around for a while, there is very little chance of getting anyone we’re REALLY interested in. Except for Glover. Glover is interesting. He can play nerdy, he can be very likable and most of all, he’s uproariously funny.
A few weeks ago, on Community, Glover took part in an incredible post-apocalyptic, action movie spoof in which he and his classmates were playing paintball for an unthinkable prize. When he propositions his fellow black team member to shoot his teammates in the back to take the prize for themselves, he gets a scolding about how that would look. “I am NOT an ambassador!” he yells, nailing the joke. That line has stuck with me. With everything I’ve read from Glover, he doesn’t think they should consider a black Spider-Man; they should consider auditioning *him* for Spider-Man. It’s a small, subtle, but important difference that illustrates the divide this country still has with race. And it is a difference the studios are embracing. A studio suit once told me “Look, if Will Smith wanted to play Adolph Hitler, we’d find a way to make it happen. He’d take the weekend.”
That’s not to say every hero can has his origin or color shuffled ever so slightly. Certain heroes were built around their race or harken from an era when a member of another race would create an anachronism. Luke Cage and Blade were both Blaxsploitation comic book heroes created to sell more comic books to the black community in the 70’s – hell, the first time Blade showed up in Tomb of Dracula he had an afro, threw wooden knives and called all the vampires "Suckas!." Likewise, Captain America comes from a time when, ironically, while fighting the master race ideal, we weren’t too keen on anyone but whites being given special roles. And Thor is Scandinavian; kind of hard to get around that one.
But Spider-Man? He’s just a poor smart kid who lives with his aunt and tries to do the best he can with the powers he was given. Nothing controversial in there. In fact, Stan Lee has repeatedly said in interviews that the idea of Spider-Man was that is *could* have been anyone under that mask. That he was white was simply a product of the era he was created in – the early sixties.
So do I want to see a black Spider-Man? Only if it is the right actor playing him. And not if they feel the need to make changes to justify him being black. This isn’t about activism; this isn’t about Spider-man being an ambassador. It’s about finding the right guy who can make us believe in a nerdy kid who wants to save the world. That’s it. Get that right, and I could care less what he looks like under that mask.