Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is lacing up his running shoes after signing on to play British Olympian Sebastian Coe in a new biopic. The young actor will portray Coe, now a Lord, in a film about the running man's track rivalry with fellow British athlete Steve Ovett.
Radcliffe will reteam with his Woman in Black director James Watkins for the project, titled Gold.
Producers are still casting the actor who will portray Ovett in the film, which is being adapted from Pat Butcher's book The Perfect Distance by Slumdog Millionaire Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy.
The filmmaker recently told the BBC he's thoroughly enjoying researching Coe and Ovett's rivalry: "I hadn't realised how good it was until you dig into their past. They were fantastically different athletes and different people. And they rarely met... apart from on the track."
Filming is scheduled to begin in the U.K. and Russia next spring (Apr13).
Get ready to see Harry Potter wearing a lot of short shorts. In a presumed attempt to further his distance from The Boy Who Lived, Daniel Radcliffe is set to play the Olympic athlete Sebastian Coe in the British sports drama Gold, according to Deadline.
The film will follow the rivalry between middle-distance runners Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett leading up to the 1980 Moscow games, where Coe and Ovett both took home gold for the race that the other was favorited to win. (Who else is super excited to see a whole lot of Radcliffe running for victory in tiny shorts while his hair flaps in the wind? Oh... just us then?).
Gold will reunite Radcliffe with James Watkins, who directed the actor in The Woman in Black. Simon Beaufoy (How to Train Your Dragon) will be penning the script that's based on Pat Butcher's book The Perfect Distance.
Filming is expected to begin in the UK and Russia in April 2014.
Olympics! Day five! Now that we're well into the thick of the games, the dramatic and soap opera-esque story lines begin to appear: and gee wilikers are they ever juicy! Tonight we've had some wins, some losses, some disqualifications and even a dared ill-word about Michael Phelps! The horror, the horror! Figurative fireworks out there tonight, folks. So let's get down to it, shall we?
Bad, bad, bad-minton: Anyone else ever have trouble spelling the word badminton? Words are hard, you guys! But what's easy is seeing how obviously a bunch of badminton players were trying to fix a match on the court today. I know! It's a bit shocking, really, that the medal-obsessed Chinese performed at any level other than perfection, but that they did. A pair of Chinese teammates (as well as two South Korean Pairs and an Indonesian pair) were said to have played so terribly that people were actually booing from the crowd. COLD, Olympic-goers! Apparently the South Koreans and Indonesian teams are appealing the decision, but China's in agreement with the call. In fact, they're planning to carry out their own investigation. Which, um, sounds terrifying coming from China. Check out the video here:
Death at the Olympics!: I know! Terrifying. [Insert Hunger Games joke here.] But the sad news is that a 28-year-old man was killed Wednesday when he collided with an Olympic media shuttle bus, officials said. (The victim was riding a bicycle at the time of the collision.) Metropolitan Police said a man in his mid-60s was arrested for allegedly causing the death due to reckless driving.
World Records Redux; Two world records were had at the Olympics today, and they were both in the pool. Hungarian Daniel Gyurta and Rebecca Soni of these United States both set the records in their respective swimming events. Happier news!
Phelpian Backstrokelash: So we know the fish also known as Michael Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian in the history of the games. Which is very, very impressive! Some would argue that it's so impressive that you could call Mr. Phelps the world's greatest Olympian. But one person who would not be saying that would be Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee. Say what? "You can say by medal tally, he is the most successful, but I'm not sure if he's the greatest. But he's the most successful athlete; that goes without saying." BOOHISS, Coe!
The Fab Five Get Tweeting: Did you know that the ladies of the US Olympic gymnastics teams got to talk to the President (aka Barack Obama) today? Of course they did! And they tweeted about it, too. Which was totally adorable. And then you realize some of the members of the team weren't even born when the last women's gymnastics team won the gold (in 1996) and you sort of start to despise them in that 'time is slipping away and I am as old as a Redwood Tree' sort of way. But then you see them tweeting with Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber and they all become charming again. Charming little flexible fetuses, aren't they?
CONGRATS to @mckaylamaroney @jordynmarie2013 @kyla_ross96 @aly_raisman @gabrielledoug on your GOLD MEDAL. #BeliebersWinGOLD #Proud ...— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 1, 2012
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
Olympics Round-Up: Michael Phelps is a Golden God
Olympics Round-Up: Missy Franklin Nabs First Gold, Britain Gets Bronzed
Olympics Round-Up: World Record for Dana Vollmer, Hugs for Michelle Obama
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.