British actor Richard E. Grant will feature as a hologram in the upcoming theatre musical Water Babies. The Withnail & I star will pre-record his role in the stage adaptation of Charles Kingsley's children's novel, in which a young man jumps into a violent river and encounters a civilisation of underwater creatures who he must help before he can return to dry land.
Grant, who recently finished filming a guest role on British period drama Downton Abbey, will appear as a mythical sea monster dubbed the Kraken.
He announced the project on Twitter.com on Friday (11Apr14), writing, "Done on Downton (Abbey) & filming a hologram playing the Kraken for a stage musical version of The Water Babies today. Fully plate licked Friday."
The musical, starring Tom Lister from British soap opera Emmerdale, will open at the Curve Theatre in Leicester, England from 6 May (14).
At the moment there are few greater clichés in the media than the freaking out single woman on the cusp of 30. Of course clichés are clichés for a reason worth exploring even through the lens of just one or two women as in Lola Versus. Unfortunately while the intention behind Lola Versus isn't that we should all be happily married by the age of 30 it still fits into the same rubric of all those "Why You're Not Married" books.
Lola (Greta Gerwig) has a gorgeous fiancé Luke (Joel Kinnaman) and they live in a giant loft together the kind of dreamy NYC real estate that seems to exist primarily in the movies. Just as they're planning their gluten-free wedding cake with a non-GMO rice milk-based frosting Luke dumps her. It's cruelly sudden — although Luke isn't a cruel man. Lola finds little comfort in the acerbic wit of her best friend the eternally single Alice (Zoe Lister-Jones) who is probably delighted to see her perfectly blonde best friend taken down a peg and into the murky world of New York coupling. Lola and Luke share a best friend Henry (Hamish Linklater) a messy-haired rumpled sweetheart who is kind and safe and the inevitable shelter for Lola's fallout. Her parents well-meaning and well-to-do hippie types feed her kombucha and try to figure out their iPads and give her irrelevant advice.
Lola Versus is slippery. Its tone careens between broad TV comedy and earnest dramedy almost as if Alice is in charge of the dirty zingers and Lola's job is to make supposedly introspective statements. Alice's vulgar non-sequiturs are tossed off without much relish and Lola's dialogue comes off too often as expository and plaintive. We don't need Lola to tell Henry "I'm vulnerable I'm not myself I'm easily persuaded" or "I'm slutty but I'm a good person!" (Which is by the way an asinine statement to make. One might even say she's not even that "slutty " she's just making dumb decisions that hurt those around her just as much as she's hurting herself.)
We know that she's a mess — that's the point of the story! It's not so much that a particularly acerbic woman wouldn't say to her best friend "Find your spirit animal and ride it until its d**k falls off " but that she wouldn't say it in the context of this movie. It's from some other movie over there one where everyone is as snarky and bitter as Alice. You can't have your black-hearted comedy and your introspective yoga classes. Is it really a stride forward for feminism that the clueless single woman has taken the place of the stoner man-child in media today? When Lola tells Luke "I'm taken by myself. I've gotta just do me for a while " it's true. But it doesn't sound true and it doesn't feel true.
In one scene Lola stumbles on the sidewalk and falls to the ground. No one asks her if she's okay or needs help; she simply gets up on her own and goes on her way. It's a moment that has happened to so many people. It's humiliating and so very public but of course you just gotta pick yourself up and get where you're going. In this movie it's a head-smackingly obvious metaphor. In one of the biggest missteps of the movie Jay Pharoah plays a bartender that makes the occasional joke while Lola is waiting tables at her mom's restaurant. His big line at the end is "And I'm your friend who's black!" It would have been better to leave his entire character on the cutting room floor than attempt such a half-hearted wink at the audience.
Lister-Jones and director Daryl Wein co-wrote the screenplay for Lola Versus as they did with 2009's Breaking Upwards. Both films deal with the ins and outs of their own romantic relationship in one way or another. Breaking Upwards a micro-budget indie about a rough patch in their relationship was much more successful in tone and direction. Lola Versus has its seeds in Lister-Jones' experience as a single woman in New York and is a little bit farther removed from their experiences. Lola Versus feels like a wasted opportunity. Relatively speaking there are so few movies getting made with a female writer or co-writer that it almost feels like a betrayal to see such a tone-deaf portrayal of women onscreen. What makes it even more disappointing is how smart and likable everyone involved is and knowing that they could have made a better movie.
When is an actor truly an A-lister? Does membership to that illustrious clique come only after being nominated for an Oscar, or starring in a film that passes the billion-dollar mark? If that is indeed the criteria, then a few of the following youngsters climbing the Hollywood ladder could already be considered part of that pack. But I beg to differ.
A true A-lister is a performer who transcends the films they make. They are the reason a movie gets produced as well as its main selling point, but at the end of the day they’re a bigger story than the one they’re telling. That’s why I believe that, while the actors I’m about to name are undeniably on the cusp of the A-list, they aren’t there yet.
The Boy Who Lived is the perfect example of a successful young actor who’s almost A-List material, but hasn’t made the cut yet. Why? Because even though he played the title character in the world’s biggest film franchise, the Harry Potter movies have always been about Harry Potter – not Daniel Radcliffe. Looking back in retrospect, if a different wide-eyed youngster had won the role way back in 2000 we’d still love the series just as much as we do today. Since he hasn’t yet opened a film outside the Potter brand, we cannot call him a true A-lister.
That could all change this weekend, when he releases his horror flick The Woman in Black. If the film can top another pair of new releases (the star-studded Big Miracle and the buzzworthy Chronicle) as well as holdover The Grey, it’d grant him his ticket into the Big Boys Club.
Jennifer Lawrence This blonde beauty came out of nowhere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival with an acclaimed and eventually Oscar-nominated performance in the universally praised Winter’s Bone, and found roles in another Sundance favorite (Like Crazy), a well-regarded ensemble drama (The Beaver) and an all-out blockbuster (X-Men: First Class) soon thereafter. But she has not yet attained the notoriety of a MOVIE STAR despite signing on to what could be the biggest franchise since Twilight. However, by the end of the year she could become the most sought-after actress in the business. If The Hunger Games is as successful as all the world thinks it’ll be, Lawrence’s face will be plastered on every magazine cover, billboard and television screen from here to Panem. And with two other very different films already in the can and set for release later in 2012 (the horror thriller House at the End of the Street and David O, Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook), Lawrence’s near-future could have piles of commercial and critical success, as well as a ticket to the A-list. Jonah Hill Hill made a name for himself playing obnoxious, foul-mouthed man-teens in movies like Superbad, Knocked Up and Funny People as a supporting player. Always a bridesmaid, never the bride – until 2010’s Get Him to the Greek proved that fans of those films would follow him even without a bigger star in the lead. Another starring role came along with The Sitter, but Hill’s biggest success story to date came in the form of an Oscar nomination for his part opposite Brad Pitt in Moneyball. He won’t win, but his status has officially risen. The A-list is nearly in his grasp as all eyes are now on his future slate, which includes 21 Jump Street (which he co-wrote and produced), Neighborhood Watch and Good Time Gang. If Hill can follow the huge career milestone that is an Academy Award nomination with back to back hits, there’s no stopping him. Emma Stone After the release of Easy A, America had found its new sweetheart in this pint-sized red-head. The film was an enormous success and exhibited the young starlet’s penchant for comedic delivery and ability to draw an audience, but rather than following the hit up by snagging the first leading role she could find, she took three supporting roles in three solid films (Friends with Benefits, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Help) that grossed over $300 million combined. While these movies have certainly helped her gain credibility among moviegoers, what she needs now are some meaty roles to display her range, and I think that one is already on the way. In The Gangster Squad, she’ll play a femme fatale character at the center of a love triangle between Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn. This is precisely the type of part that will expand on her talents and show the world how sexy she can be. But before that, she’ll play Gwen Stacey in Marc Webb’s ultra-anticipated Amazing Spider-Man. Sounds like an easy way to the A-list to me… Joseph Gordon-Levitt There’s not a single task in showbiz that Levitt hasn’t done. TV sitcom? Check. Family film? Check. Romantic lead? You bet’cha. Indie drama? Absolutely. Yet only recently has he become widely known, thanks to the blockbuster Inception and his Golden Globe nominated performance as a twentysomething diagnosed with cancer in 50/50. He’s amassed a cult following thanks to years of high-quality work, but will he be able to make the coveted jump to the A-list? With five films releasing in 2012, including a superhero movie that a few people might see, a Spielberg passion project and the world’s first Southern-friend Western, there’s no reason to believe that he can’t have financial success, the respect of his peers and a reserved seat at the Clooney-DiCaprio-Pitt-table.
Movies like The Ides of March don’t get made too often nowadays. Drama is hard enough to sell to a broad audience and politics – in these socially divisive times – is even harder. It takes a special breed of filmmaker to pull off an All the President’s Men or Parallax View in 2011 but if there’s anyone who is capable of combining a cool cast a campaign conspiracy and a clear-cut message about moral corruption it’s George Clooney. In his fourth outing as director the Oscar and Golden Globe winning actor brought Beau Willimon’s off-Broadway play “Farragut North” to the big screen as Ides after years of delays that saw actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Chris Pine come and go leaving the lead role open for man of the year Ryan Gosling to inhabit with 360 degrees of humanity.
The film was a modest success in the fall of 2011 grossing over $60 million worlwide on a shoe-string budget and racking up four Golden Globe nominations. Now Sony Pictures Home Entertainent releases the taut intelligent thriller in a compact 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack that gives a well-rounded look at the ideas behind the Ides. While its 1080p 2.40:1 HD transfer lends rich colors and an up-close-and-personal aesthetic to the viewing experience you’re not buying this Blu-ray for the movie’s cinematography sound design or special effects. The prize for owning The Ides of March is getting to hear about star/director/writer Clooney’s take on the material and the disc’s special features give you plenty of the A-lister.
Starting with “Developing the Campaign: The Origins of The Ides of March” (one of two Blu-ray exclusive featurettes) you’re treated to a handful of snippets with him co-writer and producer Grant Heslov playwright Willimon and producer Brian Oliver who collectively report on the genesis of the story from stage to script and finally to screen. Given his well-known interest in public affairs and politics it’s interesting to hear how Clooney’s passionate beliefs effected the metamorphosis of the story and how Willimon’s experiences working on various campaigns added to the authenticity of the narrative. Fans of the source material will enjoy taking note of the explanations given by all of the fore mentioned individuals as to why certain changes were made such as the addition of the candidate character that Clooney plays and the alterations of some of the locations to reflect the current political climate.
Of course if you came out to see the film at the theater you’re no doubt a loyal follower of one of the many stars of the picture and “On the Campaign: The Cast of The Ides of March” will probably be the biggest bonus for you. Relatively standard as far as home entertainment releases go it gives everyone – from Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman to Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei – a chance to tell you why the got involved in the project and who their characters are in their eyes. What I enjoyed most about this was hearing them praise each others abilities. Clooney boasts the fact that “Every single actor we got was our first choice ” (a rarity in film production) while Gosling claims that “I would probably do any movie just to get to work with any one of these actors and then to get to work with them all in one film is pretty….rad.”
In “Believe: George Clooney ” the film’s prestigious cast discusses the talent of their director and Clooney himself weighs in on the difficulties of directing oneself. Most of the performers seemed to be genuinely enamored by his ability to be both in the moment and out of the moment and though this feat has been championed before with a story as complex as this it is quite the marvel. “Believe” is the most production-oriented featurette included on the disc and though it doesn’t accomplish what a more thorough making-of documentary would it does allow you to observe Clooney’s process. Still you can indulge in a commentary track with both Clooney and Heslov for a more in-depth analysis of the filming process. Delving even further into process is “What does a Political Consultant Do? ” another Blu-ray exclusive that is a bit more politically technical than your average film fan might want to view but since Stuart Stevens a real-life political consultant contributed to the development of the characters and legitimacy of the story it makes for an informative lesson about the people who really hold power in Washington which is ultimately what The Ides of March is all about.
Matthew McConaughey's publicist has slammed reports the actor went against his advice to sign a magazine deal for exclusive photos of newborn son Levi.
The Fool's Gold star's girlfriend Camila Alves gave birth to Levi Alves McConaughey at a Los Angeles hospital on Monday, and the couple were reported to have landed an exclusive $3 million scoop with OK! magazine for the first pictures.
The agreement was also said to include the baby's first Christmas with the family and grant the magazine first rights to wedding photos, should McConaughey and Alves walk down the aisle.
McConaughey's representative Alan Nierob was allegedly angry at the actor for agreeing to the deal, because he wanted the couple to hold out for a better offer.
A source tells the New York Post's PageSix, "His publicist, Alan Nierob, begged him not to work with (OK!) because he's considered an A-lister.
"But Matthew hired money man Todd Shemarya, who brokered the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie $4 million People (magazine) deal."
However, Nierob insists the reports are false, saying, "I have never had any conversation with my client about this matter."
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Brosnan turns in license to kill
Pierce Brosnan appears to giving up his 007 moniker, according to Entertainment Weekly. In an interview on the magazine's Web site posted Tuesday, the Irish-born actor said 2002's Die Another Day was his last mission for Her Majesty's Secret Service, he's turning in his license to kill. "That's it. I've said all I've got to say on the world of James Bond…another lifetime behind me," Brosnan said. Speculation on who will replace him include King Arthur co-stars Clive Owen and Ioan Gruffudd, as well as fellow Brits Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor and Aussies Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger and Eric Bana.
Hoffman aids bee sting victim
Dustin Hoffman and his wife, Lisa, rushed to the aid of a woman who was stung by a bee near the couple's Malibu, Calif., home two weeks ago, The Associated Press reports. The woman, Lydia Graham, began having a severe allergic reaction after being stung while walking on the beach. As a friend rushed to get help from the beach patrol, the Hoffmans, who witnessed the action from their deck, hurried to Graham's aid. Lucky break for Graham--Lisa Hoffman is also allergic to bee stings, and used her own emergency injection kit to combat the reaction. Graham, 36, told CBS's The Early Show, that as her eyes and lips were swelling up and her throat was closing she recognized a familiar face was on the sand with her. "I did recognize that it was Dustin Hoffman but I was sure that…I could possibly die," Graham said.
On-Air? More like, "Off-Air"
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest's syndicated talk show was canceled Tuesday, a day after reports surfaced that the Sinclair Broadcast Group had yanked On-Air With Ryan Seacrest from more than 20 of its TV stations. Twentieth Television, the show's Fox-owned distributor, said in a statement: "It was our desire that the program would appeal to a wide array of viewers, but unfortunately, the marketplace's response was not as strong as we had hoped." On-Air ends production Thursday but will continue to air until Sept. 17, the AP reports. Seacrest, meanwhile, will continue in his host duties on Fox's American Idol, which heads into its fourth season in January, and as morning disc jockey on Los Angeles' KIIS-FM.
Timberlake gets restraining order against stalking photographer
A Santa Monica, Calif., judge Tuesday barred a photographer from coming within 50 yards of pop singer Justin Timberlake for the next three years, City News reports. Timberlake, 23, filed a civil harassment suit on July 9, asking for a restraining order against Artemus Earl Lister, alleging the photographer had "stalked and continually harassed '' Timberlake since mid May. On May 26, according to the suit, Lister almost struck Timberlake's trainer, Robert Bonner, in the face with a camera. "When I am driving on the street, (Lister) drives recklessly, erratically and aggressively, and endangers the safety of myself, my passengers and innocent drivers on the roadway,'' Timberlake stated. Meanwhile, in other Timberlake court news, the singer also filed suit in London against the British tabloid News of the World, for a story reporting he cheated on girlfriend Cameron Diaz with British model Lucy Clarkson, publicist Ken Sunshine told City News. "Justin never met the woman in question, and we are confident a lot of money will be won for a wonderful charity when we win this case,'' Sunshine said.
Sizemore back in court is Fleiss case
Speaking of endless court battles, Tom Sizemore was ordered yesterday to appear in court Aug. 5 to set another hearing over whether he violated probation after being convicted of abusing ex-girlfriend and former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss. Sizemore was sentenced in October to six months in jail on misdemeanor charges of harassing, annoying and physically abusing Fleiss during their two-year relationship. His probation terms called for him to stay away from Fleiss, undergo counseling for domestic violence and anger management and submit to regular drug testing. Prosecutors allege the actor violated his probation by contacting Fleiss and testing positive for drugs. Sizemore's lawyer, however, told the AP Sizemore is doing well and did not violate his probation.
Rocco DiSpirito not only loses restaurant, he's barred from it
Rocco DiSpirito, the TV chef of NBC's primetime reality series The Restaurant, lost a battle in New York civil court Tuesday against the eatery's co-owner. Variety reports Jeffrey Chodorow can now sell Rocco's restaurant, or renovate it under a different name, without any input from the chef. Acting Justice Ira Gammerman also issued a restraining order to keep DiSpirito from setting foot in the restaurant. Chodorow and his investment group, China Grill Management, had sued DiSpirito, claiming he mismanaged the restaurant, causing the group financial losses. DiSpirito claims Rocco's had begun to make money in the last few months and has a shot at becoming successful.
Paris and Nicole to host Teen Choice Awards
The Simple Life stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie will host the 2004 Teen Choice Awards, Fox announced Tuesday. The AP reports the awards are unveiling new categories this year, including "Choice Hissy Fit," "Choice Liplock" and "Choice Movie Your Parents Didn't Want You to See." Not such surprising categories, considering the awards are voted on by teens aged 13 through 19. The award show, taping Aug. 8 at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, will air Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox. Other appearances will include Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Usher and Ashton Kutcher.
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.