Woody Allen was thrilled when Oscar winner Colin Firth signed on to star as a cynical illusionist in his new film Magic In The Moonlight - because he wrote the part of Stanley with the British actor in mind.
The filmmaker admits Firth's casting was especially sweet because he has failed to land so many of the world's top actors for his film projects. He explains, "The guys are great but they are hard to get, they are always busy. I have called (Robert) De Niro, I've spoken on the phone to Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson."
"Nicholson was going to do Hannah And Her Sisters. I wasn't thinking of Michael Caine at the time as I wasn't thinking of an English guy. It would never have occurred to me."
But when he started writing his latest project, he couldn't get past the thought of casting another Englishman, adding, "I was thinking of him as I was writing the movie and we were determined to have him, but he was scheduled to do another project."
"Fortunately for us, at the last minute his other project was postponed. Colin was the perfect person to play this because it requires a certain savoir faire (social grace). You want an elegant, good-looking person who can do the wit and can have that attitude without him getting on your nerves; someone you would like to watch for the whole movie."
Allen reveals the idea of casting Emma Stone opposite Firth came to him as he was working out: "I'm on my treadmill in the morning and I'm surfing through (TV channels) to kill the time and suddenly I would see these post-adolescent movies and think, 'Who's that girl? She's beautiful and she's very good'."
"I mentioned her name to Juliet Taylor, who casts for me, and she said, 'Yes, she's not just a pretty face. She's a very good actress'. She's very intelligent to chat with. She did such a good job she's in the (next) movie I'm doing now."
And it seems Allen is slowly getting his way when it comes to working with the world's top actors: "Now I am working with Joaquin Phoenix, a great actor, and Sean Penn... I would love to work with Kevin Spacey."
Animal rights campaigners have offered to make a $6,000 (£3,529) donation to Kevin Spacey's theatre company if he swaps meat for vegan food at an upcoming fundraising barbecue.
The American Beauty star is holding a raffle for the chance to eat barbecued ribs with him on the set of his online drama series House of Cards, with proceeds going to the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and London's The Old Vic Theatre Company, where Spacey works as artistic director.
However, staff at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have promised to make a $6,000 donation if Spacey goes vegetarian for the event.
In a letter to the star, a PETA representative writes, "We believe that you care about animal welfare and about the environment, so in light of all the information available today about cruelty in slaughterhouses and the detrimental effect of greenhouse gasses produced by animal-based agriculture, PETA is respectfully asking that the prize dinner feature delicious 'Fib Ribs' or Field Roast vegan offerings instead of ribs so that the theatre will not benefit at the expense of other vital social interests."
One Direction have been too busy to take up an offer to appear in Glee, according to castmember Kevin Mchale.
The actor has revealed producers behind the hit musical TV show have been desperate to land a cameo appearance by the British-Irish boyband, but the singers have been unable to find time in their gruelling work schedules.
McHale tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "We wanted them on the show badly and I thought it might happen at one time. But then they just became too big, too busy."
Previous guest stars on the show have included Britney Spears, Ricky Martin and Demi Lovato.
Actor Cam Gigandet has mixed feelings about his time on teen TV show The O.C., insisting his co-stars Ben Mckenzie and Mischa Barton were "miserable" to work with. The Twilight star had a recurring role as bad boy Kevin Volchok on the hit drama, playing a rival to McKenzie's Ryan Atwood.
However, in a new interview with Elle magazine, Gigandet reveals their feud transferred off-screen, and when asked whether he keeps in touch with any of the actors from the show, he replied, "No. Actually Ben McKenzie was kind of mean to me. I hadn't done anything at that point and he was a little bit of an a**." He added, "But I love him. I think he's a great actor and I love (cancelled U.S. police drama) Southland."
Gigandet also took a swipe at Barton, who played Marissa Cooper, adding, "Mischa? I didn't really... Was she there? I don't even have memories of her."
Gigandet went on to note the rest of the main cast, including Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson, were equally hard to work with: "I learned a lot, but the things that I remember now - none of them are good... Those kids were f**king miserable. "They were just - they would not remember their lines on purpose. They were young. That said, I don't talk to anyone I've ever worked with."
The O.C. ended its four-season run in 2007.
Reclusive R&B star D'angelo is planning to release his first new album in 14 years by the end of 2014.
Video footage of the singer working on new material in the studio surfaced online in January (14), raising fans' hopes of hearing fresh tracks from the Brown Sugar hitmaker in the coming months, and now his manager and former record label executive Kevin Liles has revealed D'Angelo is putting the finishing touches to the project.
He tells Billboard.com, "There'll be an album this year... all the recording is basically done and we're mixing and mastering now. "Definitely, he'll be back."
Liles also explains the reason for the long delay for the new music, admitting D'Angelo's perfectionist nature made him pour over every detail in every song on the disc. He says, "Here's the thing: with D'Angelo it was a process. He didn't perform for 10 years and he's been working on an album for the past 12 years... (After he returned to the stage in 2011), he very bluntly put it, 'Kev, the studio and the stage: that's my lifeblood. Now that I've touched it again, now that I see it again, I wanna be sure that the baby I'm about to have - the album - that I take it to the point where it's all it can be."
According to Liles, the singer is also planning to embark on a world tour following the album's release: "We'll probably start an international tour in October, we'll come back (to the U.S.)."
D'Angelo has not released a new album since his sophomore project, Voodoo, in 2000.
Actor Kevin Spacey has silenced rumours suggesting he is set to portray a villain in the next James Bond movie. The House of Cards star previously revealed he had spoken with his American Beauty director Sam Mendes about playing the bad guy opposite 007 hunk Daniel Craig in 2012's Skyfall, but his theatre commitments in a global production of Shakespeare's Richard III prevented him from taking on the job, which eventually went to Javier Bardem.
Recent reports suggest Spacey could be back in the picture as a villain for the 24th movie in the Bond series, which Mendes is returning to helm, following his decision to step down as the artistic director of London's The Old Vic theatre, where he has served for the past decade. However, Spacey admits he is baffled by the claims as he has not discussed anything about the new Bond movie with Mendes.
He tells BBC News, "I don't know why people keep writing about this. I've been offered no role, I've never read a script, no, I am not doing the next James Bond movie. I don't know who started the rumour but stop it." Spacey continues, "Obviously if he (Mendes) wanted me he would've offered me the role. I don't even know if there is a role frankly."
The actor is no stranger to playing the villain - he famously portrayed Lex Luthor in 2006 movie Superman Returns, he was the conniving Roger 'Verbal' Kint in The Usual Suspects and currently stars as murderous politician Frank Underwood in hit Netflix series House of Cards.
Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey turned the air blue on respected BBC current affairs show Newsnight on Wednesday (04Jun14) when he uttered a four-letter word during an interview.
The American Beauty star moved to the U.K. in 2003 to take up his role as artistic director of The Old Vic theatre, and he considers himself an 'honorary Londoner' because of his close ties with the city. He was interviewed for the BBC's flagship news show on Wednesday but he left viewers of the highbrow programme stunned when he used an expletive to explain why he will "never" leave the U.K.
Spacey said, "I mean I'm never going to leave (for good). It's not like, 'Oh, I'm going to get on a plane and f**k off'. I will always be a part of this country and I will always have a place in London. It's a huge part of my life."
Revered journalist Jeremy Paxman, who hosts the show, even warned viewers in advance about Spacey's slip-up, saying, "Be warned, though. He likes the odd Anglo-Saxonism."
Actor Kevin Spacey called out an audience member in the middle of his play Clarence Darrow after a ringing cell phone interrupted a powerful monologue. The House of Cards star is in the midst of a two-and-a-half week run at The Old Vic theatre in London, and on Wednesday (04Jun14), Spacey's improvisation skills were put to the test when a ring tone interrupted him during a passionate scene.
The audience member attempted to ignore the call, prompting Spacey, who remained in character, to blurt out, "If you don't answer that, I will!" His speedy response sparked a round of applause from the crowd. The production marks the third time Spacey has played the lawyer and civil rights hero.
He took on the one-man play in celebration of his decade-long stint as the artistic director of The Old Vic. The actor will step down from the position next autumn (15) and will be replaced by director Matthew Warchus.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.