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Monty Python funnyman John Cleese has revealed he was dropped as gadget expert Q in the James Bond films because Asians didn't like his character. The 74 year old, who starred in two 007 movies - The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day - tells Britain's Radio Times that Bond bosses wanted the films to be grittier.
He says, "I did two James Bond movies and then I believe that they decided that the tone they needed was that of the Bourne action movies, which are very gritty and humourless. "Also the big money was coming from Asia, from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, where the audiences go to watch the action sequences, and that's why, in my opinion, the action sequences go on for too long, and it's a fundamental flaw. "The audiences in Asia are not going for the subtle British humour or the class jokes."
Cleese's character did not appear in the Daniel Craig Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace, but Q returned in 2012's Skyfall. He was portrayed by Ben Whishaw.
Jake Gyllenhaal has a big year ahead of him. His second film with French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Enemy) had a lot of critics talking last month, and he's got some exciting upcoming projects as well. A movie with David O. Russell, another one with The Bourne Supremacy screenwriter Dan Gilroy, and one exciting venture that a lot of people are actually furious about (if you can imagine a world where people are furious about something Jake Gyllenhaal is doing).
The Oscar-nominated actor is, apparently, trying his hand at high theory. Columbia University is launching its installment of The Year of James Baldwin and they've enlisted Gyllenhaal and Colm Toíbín, and Irish writer and literary critic, as speakers on the subject. As people saw this news flashing across their Facebook feeds, a collective "Huh?" was emitted, followed by some real anger. What does Jake Gyllenhaal have to do with James Baldwin? Part of the concern was linked to the issue of race, which is indeed a relevant issue here — as a giant in black literature and an author born during the Harlem Renaissance, it's relevant to question a celebration of his work that begins with a white American actor and an Irish author. But the outrage wasn't just related to race, and the response inspires another question: Can people accept celebrities as intellectuals?
It seems that we connoisseurs of pop culture like our celebrities to stay in their lanes — frivolous drama, yacht parties, hot messery. And many of them fit the bill. But what happens when one surprises us and starts voicing political opinions, or tries out literary and cultural theory? People tend to get judgmental, going so far as to assume that celebrities, like Gyllenhaal, couldn't possibly have anything to contribute to an intellectual conversation.
Granted, certain actors have a little more leeway in the legitimacy department. Gyllenhaal speaking on Baldwin probably induced fewer eye-rolls than the Miley Cyrus college course (and the fact that she wasn't even directly involved with the class tells us that there's a general distate for all things that seek to link the celebrity world with academia). But pop culture fans and members of academia would likely benefit from a more accepting stance. The intellectual community could become more inclusive in terms of content (without losing whatever high-brow, exclusivity it may rightfully hold dear), and the celebrity world could expand into other areas, allowing both fans and stars to broaden their horizons. Ultimately, a meshing of the two worlds could inspire a wide variety of possibilities, some of which might prove to be truly fascinating.
You can learn more about the upcoming Columbia talk featuring Gyllenhaal and Toíbín here.
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Bourne director Paul Greengrass is to be honoured for his moviemaking achievements at Britain's upcoming Jameson Empire Awards. The British filmmaker, who directed two of Matt Damon's Bourne blockbusters, is to receive the Empire Inspiration Award at the annual ceremony in London next month (Mar14).
Greengrass' drama Captain Phillips also looks set to be a big winner at the prizegiving after scoring five nominations, including a Best Director nod for the moviemaker and a mention in the Best Film category.
The picture will go up against 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire for the top trophy.
Captain Phillips' star Tom Hanks will also compete for the Best Actor trophy with Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), James McAvoy (Filth), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf Of Wall Street), and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug).
The Best Actress trophy will be fought out between Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), and Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).
The competitors for Best British Film include Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Filth, Rush, Sunshine On Leith and The World's End.
The awards, which are voted for by film fans, will be handed out on 30 March (14).
Ferdaus Shamim/GettyWith original member Charlie Simpson still refusing to go back to his boyband-with-guitars days now that he's a semi-credible singer-songwriter, Matt Willis and James Bourne, aka the remaining members of mid-'00s UK chart-toppers Busted, have now instead hooked up with the group they undoubtedly paved the way for, McFly, for the latest big pop reunion tour. But which other pop acts could realistically join forces to form in the wake of the newest 'supergroup' McBusted. Here's a look at five potential ideas.Destiny's Child/TLCIt's unlikely that Beyoncé will ever wish to share the limelight with her former Destiny's Child bandmates for more than a few minutes, a la the Super Bowl, ever again. But there's nothing to stop Kelly and Michelle hooking up with T-Boz and Chilli to create the ultimate 90s R&B girlband crossover.Sugababes Versions 1-4The recent reunion of Mutya Keisha Siobhan, the original line-up of the ever-revolving Sugababes, hasn't exactly been a roaring success, while the latest line-up of Jade, Heidi and Amelle has been missing in action ever since 2011. But with a decade of hook-laden hits between them, a show featuring the four various line-ups would undoubtedly reignite both parties' careers.BSBNSYNCBackstreet Boys have already embraced the supergroup concept having toured and recorded with New Kids On The Block. And while Justin Timberlake is too much of a superstar to revisit his teen-pop past for more than a quick MTV VMA medley, the other four members would surely be open to hooking up with their old rivals for a feast of late '90s/early '00s boyband pop.S Club 15The term 'supergroup' might be pushing it here but it would certainly be interesting to see one of the biggest pop groups of the early '00s, S Club 7, team up with the eight members of their mini-me spin-off S Club Juniors – two of which are now in The Saturdays – for a massive S Club Party.Boyzone/WestlifeThey would possibly be the dreariest pop 'supergroup' of all time, but fans of karaoke covers and 'stand up for the key change' ballads would be in pop heaven if Irish boyband Boyzone and their recently-defunct successors Westlife decided to pool their coma-inducing resources together.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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British boybands Mcfly and Busted are uniting to create a supergroup for a U.K. tour next year (14). The two acts teased their plans to join forces last week (ends10Nov13) and on Monday (11Nov13), they held a press conference in London to give fans the details.
Busted stars James Bourne and Matt Willis will hit the stage with the four boys from McFly, Tom Fletcher, Harry Judd, Danny Jones and Dougie Poynter, for an arena trek in April and May 2014.
Former Busted rocker Charlie Simpson, whose departure in 2005 led to the band's demise, will not rejoin the group.
The tour will kick off in Glasgow, Scotland on 19 April (14) and end on 9 May (14) in Manchester, England. The new supergroup will be known as McBusted.
British band Mcfly thrilled fans at their gig in London on Thursday (19Sep13) by bringing out their former pop rivals Busted as surprise guests. McFly are taking over the Royal Albert Hall for four nights to mark their 10-year anniversary, and their mini-residency kicked off with the shock collaboration.
After Busted stars Matt Willis and James Bourne stepped onstage, the groups joked that they had renamed themselves McBusted and their new name lit up in lights at the back of the stage.
The two bands performed the Busted hits Year 3000 and Air Hostess, although former member Charlie Simpson did not show up for the special concert.
The Sopranos star James Gandolfini has made sure his loved ones are well cared for by leaving the bulk of his estimated $70 million (£45.1 million) fortune to his "beloved" son. The actor suffered a fatal heart attack in Rome, Italy last month (Jun13) while on vacation with 13-year-old Michael, who called hotel staff for help after his father fell ill.
In his will, filed at Manhattan Surrogate's Court in New York City on Tuesday (02Jul13), the star stipulated the teen will inherit the bulk of his estate through a trust set aside for him until he turns 21. He also gets his father's clothing, jewellery and the majority of his property.
Gandolfini's eight-month-old daughter Liliana, from his second marriage to Deborah Lin, will also inherit the actor's estate in Italy along with Michael when she turns 25, but he wrote in his will: "It is my hope and desire that they will continue to own said property and keep it in our family for as long as possible."
The generous star also bequeathed large sums of money to close friends, including personal assistant Paulette Flynn Bourne and friend Doug Katz, whom he hoped would use the money for his son.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 looks set for one last hurrah after landing seven nominations for the 2013 Teen Choice Awards. The final film in the vampire franchise is shortlisted for both the Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Romance categories, while Robert Pattinson will go head-to-head with his co-star Taylor Lautner for the Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy title, against Tom Cruise for Oblivion, James Franco for Oz the Great and Powerful and Iron Man 3 star Robert Downey, Jr.
The British hunk will also compete in the Movie Actor: Romance group, with Les Miserables' Eddie Redmayne, Warm Bodies' Nicholas Hoult, Josh Duhamel for Safe Haven, and Alden Ehrenreich from Beautiful Creatures.
Kristen Stewart has scored double acting nominations too - she will battle for Movie Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Romance too, with contenders from the two categories including Oz the Great and Powerful's Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams, Les Miserables' Amanda Seyfried and Jessica Biel for Playing For Keeps.
Meanwhile, Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, The Bourne Legacy and G.I. Joe: Retaliation are all up for the Best Action Movie accolade; Argo, Les Miserables, The Great Gatsby, The Impossible and The Perks of Being a Wallflower will duke it out for Best Drama, and the top comedy will be picked from Identity Thief, Peeples, Pitch Perfect, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Warm Bodies.
In the TV categories, Gossip Girl, Nashville and Revenge are in the running for Best Drama, while Glee, Modern Family and New Girl will fight for the Best Comedy award.
Music mentions go to Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake and Pitbull for Male Artist, while Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Rihanna and Taylor Swift are among the Female Artist nominees. And rival boy bands One Direction and The Wanted will face off for Best Group.
The Teen Choice Awards will be voted for by the public and the winners will be unveiled in a ceremony on 11 August (13).