Actors Aldis Hodge and Neil Brown, Jr. have been added to the cast of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. Hodge will play MC Ren, while Brown Jr. will portray DJ Yella in the film, which will also feature Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. as the MC, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E.
F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the Compton, California rappers' rise to fame in the late 1980s, and their subsequent split in 1991.
The movie is scheduled to hit theatres in August, 2015.
Rapper/actor Ice Cube has opened up about his controversial decision not to cast the late Eazy-E's son as the hip-hop icon in his forthcoming N.W.A. biopic, insisting the role required an experienced actor with "a lot of range". Eazy-E's son, Eric Wright, Jr., auditioned for the Straight Outta Compton film job and recently admitted he was disappointed after movie bosses decided to cast newcomer Jason Mitchell as the younger version of his tragic father.
Now Ice Cube, who is serving as one of the project's producers, has explained the reasons behind the decision, insisting aspiring actor Wright, Jr. simply wasn't a good fit.
Speaking to Colorado radio station KS 107.5, Ice Cube says, "He (Wright, Jr.) is an up-and-coming actor trying to do it, but we needed somebody who was a little more polished to play Eazy, because he goes through a lot in his life. He goes from selling dope in Compton to fighting for his life in a hospital bed. So we needed to find an actor with a lot of range. And we just couldn't use just anybody. We gave him (Wright, Jr.) a shot, and it just didn't work out."
Wright, Jr. wasn't the only N.W.A. offspring snubbed for a role in the film - Dr. Dre's aspiring actor/rapper son Curtis Young was also passed over in favour of Corey Hawkins, although Ice Cube's kid, O'Shea Jackson, Jr., will play his dad onscreen.
Meanwhile, the remaining N.W.A. bandmates MC Ren and DJ Yella will be played by Aldis Hodge and Neil Brown, Jr., respectively.
F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the rise of the iconic California rap group and their split in 1991.
The biopic is scheduled for release next summer (15).
Pop star Gary Barlow has been urged to hand back a top honour from the British Establishment over claims he invested in a tax avoidance scheme. The singer and two of his Take That bandmates - Mark Owen and Howard Donald - are reportedly facing the possibility of paying millions in back taxes after a partnership they invested in was branded a tax scam by a judge.
All three singers have declined to comment on the report but several leading politicians have called for Barlow to hand back the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal he was awarded in 2012 for services to entertainment.
Margaret Hodge, leader of the U.K.'s Public Accounts Committee, says Barlow "might want to show a bit of contrition by giving back his OBE", and another Member of Parliament (MP), Charlie Elphicke, tells The Times newspaper, "People who have seriously abused the tax system should be stripped of their honours."
However, Barlow has since received the backing of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, who told TV show Good Morning Britain, "I don't think that's necessary, frankly. Gary Barlow has done a huge amount for the country... He's raised money for charity, he's done very well for Children in Need so I'm not sure (he should hand back) his OBE in respect of the work he has done."
Barlow, Donald, Owen and their manager are said to have invested $105 million (£66 million) into a partnership company that was later allegedly exposed as an elaborate tax avoidance scheme.
The After/Amazon Studios
A lot has changed since Chris Carter created his megahit The X-Files: new platforms, riskier material, binge-watching, and live Tweeting have changed the television landscape forever.
After taking nearly a decade to regroup and recharge, Carter is back with his Amazon pilot The After, a sci-fi drama about eight strangers, thrown together by mysterious forces, who must help each other survive in a world that is both unfamiliar and unforgiving. We spoke to Carter about the changing face of TV since The X-Files made us believers and more - to read the full story, it's right here at Studio System News.
We are used to seeing popular U.K. shows stateside. Series of Downton Abbey, Absolutely Fabulous, Skins and Dr. Who have all aired in the US in enough time to capitalize on their wild success across the pond. However, some shows slip through the cracks. Miranda is a wildly successful sitcom that first premiered in 2009 has only now become available on Hulu.
Miranda (Miranda Hart) is posh, yet utterly awkward. She’s tall, socially inappropriate, and a grown child. She spent the bulk of her wealth buying a joke shop that she runs with her Type-A best friend Stevie (Sarah Hadland). She is terminally single much to the dismay of her haughty and marriage obsessed mother, Penny (Patricia Hodge). She occasionally has run-ins with her former boarding school pal Tilly (Sally Phillips). Her latest obsession is her longtime friend and restaurant chef, Gary (Tom Ellis) who can see beyond her 6’1 frame and social ineptitude yet can’t seem to get a moment alone with her.
Hart is a comedic genius. Each episode has Mr. Bean-like physical antics, insanely well-crafted wordplay, and completely absurd situations. Hart is so likable and the pain, tension, and discomfort of being tall, romantically challenged, and stunted in youth is completely relatable. Plus, Hart will occasionally look at the audience and give commentary on what’s happening.
Hart represents an everywoman, but not necessarily in a Chaka Kahn/Whitney Houston kind of way. Her issues with men, her mother, and her friends are so much like what people have to deal with on a daily basis. However, Hart is able to say and do what we wish we could do in a given situation. She also has an incongruously attractive crush in a will they/won’t they relationship. The series is semi-autobiographical and it seems like Hart is living out her fantasies through her charcter.
Anglophiles, Brticom addicts, comedy lovers, and people with a pulse must check out this series. The first two series are available on Hulu. See what people in the UK have been obsessing over for years.
Leverage brings the heist movie genre to the small screen. Each episode, the team of Leverage Consulting & Associates takes down a fat cat or crime lord that has hurt one of their clients. Whether it’s a high-stakes grift or an elaborate theft, this cadre of ex-cons rights wrongs, Robin Hood-style.
Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton) is a former insurance fraud investigator. He gets drafted into an elaborate con with thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf), hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), former black ops agent Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), and his ex, an experienced grifter, Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman). They decide to combine their unique set of skills on the right side of the law to help the helpless: to provide them with some leverage...get it?
The show takes all the twists, turns, and shocking misdirects from movies like Ocean’s Eleven or The Italian Job and takes it to a local level. It’s insane that the series is able to come up with so many smart reveals and elaborate capers for each episode.
If great writing isn’t enough, the casting of the series is genius. The characters are more than just their heist skills. Each character brings a different layer to their character. Hutton may play the moral voice of the show but he also has a drinking problem and a self-destructive impulse. Riesgraf and Hodge may play expert thieves but they also have a dorky vibe. The British-born Bellman showcases all of her accents and unique vocal tricks as she plays a grifter playing a character during a con.
Movies like Oceans Fifteen: Still Wet, are fun to watch for the satisfaction of a well-played con. Leverage provides all that satisfaction combined with likable characters and unique writing.
Netflix has all five seasons of the series, which ended last winter.
You can watch 10 different Jared Harris performances without ever realizing that they have an actor in common: the man is a proverbial chameleon. Following his exit from Mad Men and his turn as Ulysses S. Grant in Lincoln, Harris stars as the agoraphobic magic man Hodge Starkweather in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, lining the cast of young, fresh stars in the making with his veteran bravado. Of course, spending time around his youthful costars has clearly rubbed off on the thespian. "There’s lots of laughter, because you are being a kid again," Harris admits to Hollywood.com. "It’s great fun!"
Speaking on the creation of the new movie, adapted from the novels of author Cassandra Clare, Harris added, "That was one of the things [director Harald Zwart] believed would ground the audience in the world that the story takes place in. He wanted everything to be built. He wanted anything we saw to actually happen." Watch the video above to check out our full interview with Harris, and catch Mortal Instruments in theaters Aug. 21.
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Hip-hop star Meek Mill fought back tears on Saturday (29Jun13) as he addressed mourners at the funeral of his rap protege Lil Snupe, who was murdered in his native Louisiana last month (Jun13). The 18 year old, real name Addaren Ross, was shot and killed at an apartment complex in Shreveport on 20 June (13), just months after he was signed to Mill's Dream Chasers Records label, and the Ima Boss hitmaker was left devastated by the tragic loss.
Mill was among the guests who turned out to pay their respects to the slain teen on Saturday and spoke to the hundreds gathered outside the Jonesboro-Hodge High School prior to the service to express his heartbreak at the youngster's untimely death.
He told the crowd, "I'm never one to talk (at funerals)... I saw something in him. His demo tape spoke to me. I saw myself in him."
Police recently arrested and charged 36-year-old Tony Holden with Snupe's slaying, slapping him with counts of first degree murder, armed robbery and illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
A performance of Sam Mendes' new London musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was halted on Friday (28Jun13) when a prop elevator broke down in mid-air. Stars of the show were left dangling in a glass platform above the audience when the malfunction occurred at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, delaying the finale as crewmembers scrambled to fix the problem.
The stage manager came out to apologise before actor Douglas Hodge, who plays candy factory owner Willy Wonka, resumed the scene with child star Jack Costello.
A spokesperson for the production says, "The elevator did not finish its flight and had to be brought down manually. The show was stopped for six minutes while this happened and then continued as normal."
Skyfall director Mendes officially launched the show in the British capital on Tuesday (25Jun13).
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has been unveiled as the unlikely source of inspiration for British actor Douglas Hodge's new take on Willy Wonka. Roald Dahl's classic kids' book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been adapted for the London stage by filmmaker Sam Mendes, with Hodge playing kooky candy boss Wonka.
Hodge insists his performance isn't based on actors Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp, who previously played Wonka on the big screen, but instead rocker Yorke: "It's the way he dances. He's so tiny and birdlike."
The theatre star has also taken cues from rock icons Sir Mick Jagger and David Bowie, as well as the late King of Pop Michael Jackson.
He adds, "Bowie has been in my mind as someone who disappeared from the public for a long time and then emerged. A strange, exotic creature, he seems to inherit a tradition of enigma and exclusiveness (like Wonka)."
Mendes' musical officially opens at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the British capital on 25 June (13).