Jon Bon Jovi is set to be honoured for his charity work at an event hosted by Britain's Prince William at his London residence later this month (Nov13). The rock star will receive a youth inspiration award at charity Centrepoint's Winter Whites Gala event, in recognition of his work to establish the Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which aims to help families and the young across the U.S. to escape poverty.
Bon Jovi is also set to headline at the event, hosted by the prince at Kensington Palance, on 26 November (13), in a bid to raise cash for the homeless, and will be joined by Taylor Swift, James Blunt and British singer Eliza Doolittle.
The event is an annual fundraiser organised by Centrepoint, which supports homeless young people, and it is the first time it will be hosted by the Royal, who has been patron to the charity for eight years.
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It’s hard to believe, but this Halloween marked the 20th anniversary of River Phoenix’s death. The actor had yet to reach his peak when he died of a drug overdose outside The Viper Room in Hollywood at only twenty-three years old. Phoenix was often referred to as the new James Dean, and as hyperbolic as that may sound, it was actually very true – Phoenix displayed a truthful and raw intensity in all his roles that projected a maturity beyond his years, which is impressive considering that he had grown up having never seeing a film in his life. His short career inspired a legion of actors and his death allowed actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp to have the careers they had. The troubled actor was also heavily involved with environmental organizations: he had famously bought a section of the Amazon rainforest after receiving his first big check, just so that portion of the forest couldn’t be cut down. Sensitive and intelligent, Phoenix was more than just a pretty face – he was a one-of-a-kind performer that brought authenticity to every role he played. (But damn, that face sure was pretty.)
Explorers Ok, so Explorers isn’t exactly award-winning material, but it's Phoenix’s first feature film and is adorably weird. The film is a dorky sci-fi fantasy that has a chubby-faced Phoenix (who looks like the stereotypical image you get when you hear the words “President of the AV Club”) starring alongside a young Ethan Hawke (bonus point of greatness: Phoenix’s character is named Wolfgang). The boys somehow come up with a magic machine out of a Tilt-A-Whirl cart and cruise around different galaxies, so the film is obviously awesome. Though it didn’t fare well in box office sales, the film went on to acquire a cult following.
Stand By Me Truly one of the best coming-of-age films, Stand By Me was only Phoenix’s second feature film. The movie was well-acted by all the leads, but Phoenix showed a maturity beyond his fourteen years. Stand By Me was also when he began his trademark trend of being able to steal the entire movie he was in with just one scene. For the famous scene by the fire in which Phoenix’s character breaks down after sharing his disappointment of a teacher betraying him, director Rob Reiner reportedly told the actor to think of the saddest moment in his life – once the scene was over, Phoenix was still crying uncontrollably. The depth that Phoenix brought to the role was effortlessly translated on the screen and immediately turned him into a star, full on with both critical acclaim and Tiger Beat covers.
Running On Empty A storyline that had similarities with the actor’s own life, Running On Empty had Phoenix starring alongside Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti, and Phoenix’s then-girlfriend, Martha Plimpton. The film finds Phoenix living as the son of two fugitives on the run from the FBI for an anti-war protest bombing of a napalm lab. The family had to constantly move around and change their identities, harking back to Phoenix’s own nomadic childhood during his family's days in the controversial Children of God cult. The scene of Phoenix’s confession about his identity to Plimpton’s character in the garden was hands-down the best scene in the film, and his performance ended up getting him an Oscar nomination at the ripe young age of seventeen.
Dogfight Dogfight is such an overlooked and underrated film, not only in Phoenix’s filmography, but just in general. The Nancy Savoka–directed flick is set in Vietnam War-era San Francisco and has a deceptively simple storyline: Phoenix plays an eighteen year-old Marine who takes Lili Taylor out on a date the night before he’s shipped off to Vietnam – what Taylor’s character doesn’t know is that Phoenix is taking her to a “dogfight,” a pretty evil game the other Marines play in which the soldiers compete for cash for who can bring the ugliest date. Taylor finds out and leaves, Phoenix follows, and voila – sappy rom-com, right? Except Dogfight somehow manages to be a wonderfully profound movie that avoids stereotypes and predictability, instead illuminating the nature of human relationships. Both Taylor and Phoenix’s performances are brilliant, and their adorably awkward bedroom scenes are so realistic, you’ll be cringing in your seat along with them. Plus, the film gives Musical Bingo some cred by making it spark some serious foreplay, so that’s totally awesome, too.
The Thing Called Love Though it’s definitely not the best film in his catalogue, The Thing Called Love is a great movie just for Phoenix’s crazy chemistry with Samantha Mathis, who he was wooing during filming (spoiler: he succeeded). It also has a charming Dylan McDermott and a young Sandra Bullock, just before she broke through with Speed. The film revolves around country music, but even if country isn’t your thing, the songs are still enjoyable and, making it even better, the actors actually sing their own songs. Phoenix initially wanted to be a musician and had a band called Aleka’s Attic alongside his sister Rain, so getting to see/hear Phoenix’s musical chops is a treat. The film is also Phoenix’s last completed film, and despite the fact that Phoenix was obviously strung out during filming, the charm and complexity he brought out in his character makes the film worth it.
My Own Private Idaho Considered to be Phoenix’s magnum opus, My Own Private Idaho has Gus Van Sant directing in all his weird, ethereal glory. The film is essentially an entanglement of two stories, one of Phoenix on a mission to find his long-lost mother, and the other revolving around Keanu Reeves in a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V. Phoenix plays a narcoleptic street hustler who’s in love with Reeves, his wealthy best friend who is really just playing gay-for-pay to rebel against his father. The film is notable for its Shakespearian dialogues and dreamy sequences symbolizing Phoenix’s character’s narcolepsy, but it’s Phoenix who makes the film the treasure that it is, serving as the heart and soul of the entire movie. The famous campfire scene where Phoenix professes his love to an uncomfortable Reeves was mostly rewritten by Phoenix himself, and the result is one of the most heartbreaking and well-acted scenes in film. My Own Private Idaho is when Phoenix allegedly began using drugs, and the character he played is eerily similar to perceptions of Phoenix – sadly conflicted, passionate and generous, jaded and tired, yet idealistic and innocent.
Dan Aykroyd and soul singer-turned-actress Jill Scott have joined the cast of The Help director Tate Taylor's James Brown biopic. The Blues Brothers star will portray the Godfather of Soul's longtime agent Ben Bart and Scott has been cast as Brown's wife.
42 star Chadwick Boseman will play the late soul legend in the film, titled Get On Up.
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, Taylor's leading ladies from The Help, have also snagged roles in the biopic, which is scheduled to start shooting later this month (Nov13).
Production on the highly-anticipated Fifty Shades Of Grey film adaptation has been pushed back until December (13). No official reason has been given for the change in start date, which had originally been scheduled for November (13), but news of the delay comes just days after British actor Jamie Dornan was confirmed as the new Christian Grey, stepping in to replace Charlie Hunnam, who abruptly quit the project earlier this month (Oct13).
Dakota Johnson will portray Anastasia Steele in the movie version of writer E.L. James' erotic novel, which will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.
As WENN went to press, the film was still planned for release in August, 2014.
True Blood star Luke Grimes has been cast opposite Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in the movie adaptation of the E. L. James' bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. Grimes will play Christian Grey's brother Elliot in the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson hopes to start shooting next month (Nov13).
Singer/songwriter James Taylor became the latest star to mess up America's National Anthem at a major sporting event when he sang the wrong lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner at the World Series on Thursday night (24Oct13) in Boston, Massachusetts. The big occasion appeared to get the better of the Sweet Baby James hitmaker, who inadvertently started singing the lyrics to unofficial anthem, America the Beautiful, which he was set to perform towards the end of the game between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.
Taylor quickly realised his error and got back on track, prompting Boston radio personality Marc Bertrand to tweet, "Even when James Taylor messes up he makes it sound good. Smooth transition right there."
And he led a sing-along of America the Beautiful at the ballpark during the game's seventh-inning stretch.
The St. Louis Cardinals won the game 4-2 to level the series at 1-1.
Country star Taylor Swift defied her music managers' advice not to contribute a new song to the One Chance movie soundtrack after falling in love with the real-life underdog story. The film stars actor James Corden as cell phone salesman Paul Potts, who shot to fame as an opera singer after winning Simon Cowell's reality TV show Britain's Got Talent in 2007.
Swift reveals she was on a recording break when she heard about the soundtrack opportunity, and she had to fight her representatives to break her radio silence and create the song Sweeter Than Fiction.
She says, "I had to fight to do this because I try to take a break in between albums and try to give people a minute to not hear me on the radio.
"I had to go around and ask people, 'Can I please, please put something out even though we're supposed to be going quiet?' My management, my label were like, 'No new music until the next album comes out.' Then I saw the movie and I was like, 'I have to be a part of this.'"
Swift teamed up with fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff to pen the upbeat track and they had no trouble coming up with ideas for the tune.
She adds, "Getting to see the struggles and triumphs of someone who never stopped chasing what he was after really inspired me. It's a beautiful movie and I just wanted to share it with as many people as I could."
Mary J. Blige got baseball's World Series underway by performing America's National Anthem at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts on Wednesday evening (23Oct13). Blige was an odd choice for the honour as she's a die-hard fan of the Boston Red Sox's rivals the New York Yankees. James Taylor will sing the Star-Spangled Banner before Thursday night's (24Oct13) game between the Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.
He says, "It's hard to believe for a Red Sox fan that we're actually going back to the World Series... I guess the message is that Sox fans can never give up hope despite the roller coaster we're usually on."
Actress Viola Davis' three-year-old daughter will make her acting debut in an upcoming James Brown biopic. The Help star will play the Godfather of Soul's young mother in the film Get On Up, which is due out next year (14), and, in an interview with U.S. chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, Davis reveals that her own daughter, Genesis, will be following in her mother's footsteps - and breaking into the business at a young age.
The actress reveals, "Fortunately or unfortunately the acting bug has already bitten her... She's gonna be in the James Brown biopic that I'm doing and (director) Tate Taylor is gonna cast her as one of the kids. So we've been rehearsing at home because I don't want her to be fired."
In fact, her daughter has already picked up a few acting tips from visiting mum at work.
Davis recalls a conversation with Genesis and says, "She told me, 'Mommy you can't act - you've got to be'."
Rocker Brian May has broken his silence about Sacha Baron Cohen's exit from an upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, revealing the surviving members of Queen feared the comedian's presence would distract fans from the flamboyant frontman's life story. The Ali G star walked away from the project in July (13) after spending months perfecting his vocals for the role, amid rumours he had fallen out with May and Roger Taylor over his planned portrayal of their late friend and bandmate.
Cohen has yet to comment on his reasons for quitting the film, but May has now shed some light on the actor's departure, insisting he just wasn't right for the job.
May tells UltimateClassicRock.com, "In the end, we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting.
"What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he's made - The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo - in which he makes outstanding performances, but they're very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances. And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief - the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn't think that could really happen with Sacha."
However, the guitar icon is adamant claims of a bitter rift between the Queen stars and Cohen are completely unfounded.
He adds, "It's a shame that there were these sensationalist stories about him walking out. None of that was true... We owe Sacha a lot. He had so much enthusiasm for the project and it really helped us kick it into the start position."
Reports suggest James Bond star Ben Whishaw has since been tapped as Cohen's replacement - Taylor hinted at the new casting in a TV interview on Friday (18Oct13), stating that an actor with the initials 'BW' had become the frontrunner for the role.