"Cubby Broccoli called me into his office and asked me if I wanted to be Bond." Mary Poppins star Dick Van Dyke reveals he was considered for the role of 007 when producers were looking for Sean Connery's replacement.
Pop duo Erasure have joined the stars hoping for a Christmas hit this year after revealing details of their new holiday album. Snow Globe, which will be released in November (13), will feature original festive tunes and seasonal classics like Steeleye Span's folk hit Gaudete.
Singer Andy Bell can understand why fans think the tune is an odd choice - but he insists it works perfectly.
He says, "I just love the song."
Bandmate Vince Clarke insists the album will help Bell show off the full range of his vocal talents and the openly gay frontman adds, "I found my inner choirboy again. I thought I’d lost him but he was there all along."
The duo will have to compete with Trace Adkins, Mary J. Blige, Jewel, Susan Boyle and Kelly Clarkson, among others, for the Christmas chart top spot this December (13).
Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown Findlay has landed a leading role in the new Frankenstein adaptation opposite Daniel Radcliffe and James Mcavoy. The actress, who played the late Lady Sybil Crawley in the period drama, has beaten out a host of other leading ladies to land the role of an injured trapeze artist in director Paul McGuigan's retelling of the Mary Shelley horror classic.
Radcliffe will play hunchback Igor in the film, while McAvoy will portray monster-maker Victor Frankenstein.
British comic Lee Evans turned his back on Hollywood because he found working in Tinseltown a "nightmare". The funnyman shot to international fame in the 1990s with roles in big budget films such as There's Something About Mary, MouseHunt and The Fifth Element, but he walked away from his blossoming Hollywood career as he hated spending so much time away from his family in Britain.
Evans has now revealed he still receives scripts for big Hollywood films, but insists he will not be tempted back to Los Angeles.
He tells the London Evening Standard newspaper, "I will never go back to Hollywood. It was like a nightmare. I enjoyed it at the time, but I wanted to be back with my family - I love them! They keep asking me to do a film, but you just spend six months in a remote place living in a caravan (trailer)."
Author Jim Crace's final novel, Harvest, has been shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. The 67 year old will compete against Colm Toibin's The Testament of Mary, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland, Ruth Ozeki's A Tale For The Time Being, and We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo for the prestigious literary award. The winner, who will take home a $75,000 (£50,000) cheque, will be announced in London on 15 October (13).
Country star Trace Adkins has joined the Christmas rush to release a holiday-themed album by announcing plans for a Celtic-enthused collection. The King's Gift will feature guests The Chieftains and Kevin Costner and his daughter Lily, and include a series of hymns like Adkins' versions of Wexford Carol, O' Come Emmanuel, Away In A Manger and We Three Kings.
He'll also team up with the Costners on Silent Night.
The gravel-voiced country star will tour with the new album, which will be released at the end of October (13), as part of what he hopes will become an annual Christmas Show.
A source says, "The tour begins a new Adkins holiday tradition for years to come. Envisioned as a theatrical production, Trace will alternate between fireside storytelling of anecdotes (both personal and historical) and performances of classic carols with a 12 piece ensemble - a quartet string section, female vocalists and a range of traditional instruments.
"The tour is inspired by Adkins' annual hosting duties at Disney World's Candlelight Processional, where his deep baritone narrates Christmas stories, while a full choir and orchestra performs. It has always been a highlight of Trace's year and he is thrilled to bring his own unique version of this concept on tour."
Dates will begin in Illinois on 15 November (13).
Kelly Clarkson, Jewel, Mary J. Blige and Susan Boyle will also be releasing festive albums in time for the holidays this year (13).
The Bodyguard star Nathaniel Parker is to play King Henry VIII in the stage adaptation of Hilary Mantel's multi award-winning novels about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn. Parker, who played Clive Healey in the 1992 Whitney Houston film, will lead the Swan Theatre cast in Stratford-upon-Avon, England when Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies premiere back to back in December (13).
Mantel's historical novels won the Man Booker Prize in 2009 and 2012. The books have been adapted for the stage by Mike Poulton.
Lucy Briers will double up as Katherine of Aragon and Jane Boleyn, while Leah Brotherhead will portray Jane Seymour and Princess Mary, and Nicholas Day has been cast as the Duke of Norfolk.
The two projects will run at the Swan Theatre from 11 December (13) to 29 March (14).
Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery is convinced the future of the show lies in the hands of veteran star Dame Maggie Smith as she fears the period drama won't survive if she quits. The popular TV programme has been rocked by exits as key castmembers, including Dan Stevens and Jessica Brown Findlay, have left to pursue careers in Hollywood.
The show is poised to return for a fourth season, but Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley, is convinced Downton Abbey won't continue if Smith decides to leave.
She tells Vulture.com, "If more people start leaving, that's when it can't go on. Like if Maggie Smith decided not to do any more, I think that really is the end. One of the great things about the show is the ensemble... So if more people start dropping off, I just don't think it will work."
Actress Valerie Harper accepted the opportunity to be part of U.S. competition show Dancing With The Stars because she wanted to inspire people. It has been confirmed The Mary Tyler Moore Show star will be part of the season 17 cast, despite her terminal brain cancer battle.
In an interview with People magazine, the actress, who was given just six months to live at the beginning of the year (13), says, "I thought it might be sort of inspiring for people to see a 74-year-old woman with my condition dancing."
Last week (begs26Aug13), it was revealed Harper's condition was improving and her cancer was "close to remission," according to her doctors. However, her diagnosis could change at any moment.
She explains, "My scans have been getting better. But cancer hides. My doctors say it's not a case of if (it's fatal), it's when. And I can live with that."
For now, Harper is focusing on her health and the show, which is incidentally helping her to lose weight after gaining a few pounds during treatment.
She continues, "They've forced me to get serious about dieting. Since I'm no longer on steroids, I've dropped 20 pounds, but I'd like to lose another 15. I told the wardrobe supervisor, 'Your job is take six inches off my butt'."
Harper has been partnered with Tristan MacManus on the show, where she'll compete with celebrities like Showgirls star Elizabeth Berkley, Glee's Amber Riley, actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini, former Jersey Shore regular Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi and singer Christina Milian.
Jack Osbourne, Corbin Bleu, actor Brant Daugherty, comedian Bill Engvall and sportsman Keyshawn Johnson will round out the cast, which will be lacing up its dancing shoes for the season premiere on 16 September (13).
The man behind Oasis has invited new acts to hand him their demo tapes as he DJs at a new nightclub in Liverpool, England this weekend (06Sep13). Alan McGee, the former boss of Creation Records, is keen to build his roster at 359 Music and he wants unsigned bands and artists to approach him as he spins records at District nightclub with a view to joining his label.
McGee, who also gave the world The Jesus And Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and Primal Scream, explains he decided to launch his new label night in Liverpool - because the city is "the most alive place for music in the U.K."
He adds, "If you are a new band or artist and want to sign to 359 Music or want to play the night then bring a CD to the club... I will listen!"