Little Big Man author Thomas Berger has died, aged 89. The writer passed away at Nyack Hospital in New York state on 13 July (14), a week before his 90th birthday.
His health had been deteriorating in recent months, according to his literary agent Cristina Concepcion.
The versatile wordsmith, who penned 20 novels ranging in genre, is best known for his third book Little Big Man.
The 1964 satirical story was adapted into a big screen version starring Dustin Hoffman in 1970.
Berger, who served in World War II, is also known for the novel Neighbors, which was turned into a film starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in 1981.
He was a finalist for the coveted Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1984 for his novel The Feud, which was also made into a movie, and in 2012, Samuel L. Jackson starred in Meeting Evil, which was based on another of Berger's books.
Prison Break star Wentworth Miller is set to play the villain on the TV adaptation of comic book series The Flash after signing up to portray Leonard Snart. In the popular DC Comics, Snart's alter-ego, Captain Cold, is the leader of the Rogues, and a dastardly enemy of The Flash.
Grant Gustin will portray Barry Allen, who becomes the speedy superhero, on the show, which will debut in America later this year (14).
Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton, Robbie Amell and Tom Cavanagh have also joined the cast.
Sir Mick Jagger has opened up about the death of his girlfriend L'Wren Scott in a new TV interview, admitting it has been a "hard year" and he threw himself into work to cope.
The Rolling Stones frontman was asked about the tragedy during an interview on America's Today show, which aired on Friday (18Jul14) to promote the new James Brown biopic Get On Up that the singer produced.
Jagger looked sombre as he revealed he threw himself into work to deal with the pain of Scott's death. He said, "I'm doing okay. It's difficult. (It's been a) very hard year, but I got back into it by working on touring with the Stones in Europe and doing other things, including doing this great movie... (I've had) a lot of support... and I appreciate that."
Jagger was on tour with the band in Australia when his long-term partner took her own life at her apartment in New York City in March (14), prompting the group to postpone shows in Australia and New Zealand.
The veteran singer returned to the stage in Norway in May (14).
It’s been a big week for Marvel fans. First, the company unveiled the new Thor, a woman who takes over the title and responsibilities of the God of Thunder after the current Thor is deemed unworthy to wield Mjolnir, and then the first look at the villains of The Avengers: Age of Ultron was revealed along with their new, Iron Man-centric backstories. But Marvel wasn’t quite done yet, and on Wednesday night, they turned to The Colbert Show to reveal that Sam Wilson, better known as Falcon, would be carrying the shield as the new Captain America.
The shift-in-power comes after Steve Rogers’ body has been drained of the super serum that turned him into Cap in the first place, which resulted in him rapidly ageing to better reflect his 95 years of age. Since he’s no longer to be the hero that America deserves, the mantle falls to his good buddy Sam, who will officially make his debut in the stars and stripes in All New Captain America #1. Iron Man will also be getting a makeover alongside Thor and Cap, and in the Superior Iron Man #1, fans will see Tony Stark move to San Francisco in his new, shiny silver suit, in order to make some changes that not all of the Bay Area’s residents take to, resulting in a darker, more temperamental hero. Of course, all of these changes lead to one big question: how will this affect the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thus far, the two have operated as separate continuities, but both the solo and Avengers films take their cues from the comics. But while it’s likely that Tony’s new attitude might bleed over into his movie counterpart, the real thing that fans are wondering is whether or not Anthony Mackie will get to inherit the shield from Chris Evans. And it’s a possibility we’ve been thinking a lot about as well.
Why We Might See Mackie as Captain America: Though it’s the first time that Falcon has inherited the title of Captain America, he has a long history of carrying the shield whenever Steve is hurt or otherwise incapacitated, and has temporarily filled in for Cap multiple times over his fifty year run in the comics. Although Bucky Barnes’ stint as Cap is better known, Sam actually has a bigger history in the stars and stripes to draw from. Picking Sam as the new Cap would open up a lot more possibilities for the writers in terms of the stories they could tell and the comic books they could draw from.
Depending on how many movies Evans has left in his contract, it could also allow them to switch to a new Cap sooner than they could with Bucky, who at the end of The Winter Soldier still doesn’t remember anything about his life before becoming a HYDRA super-assassin. Passing the mantle to Falcon would allow them more time with Bucky’s story, and they wouldn’t need to rush through his discovery and recovery process in order to get him into Cap’s uniform quickly. Bucky’s story is a complex, compelling one, and it would be a shame to see the films bypass a lot of what makes it so interesting simply to rush him into a new uniform. The recent films’ focus on the psychological consequences of being a superhero has been one of the most engaging and entertaining parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Bucky is a prime candidate to explore more of those issues, and to add new layers to the story.
At this point in the films, Sam is in a better position to take over for Cap. His dedication to helping Steve, no questions asked, and to supporting him on his quest to repair the damage that HYDRA has done to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the American people is very reminiscent of Steve’s willingness to do anything to protect America, its ideals, and its people. Like Steve, he is a good guy through and through, the kind of person who would protect, inspire and encourage the American people, which is exactly what Captain America is supposed to do. Sam already embodies much of what makes Captain America the hero he is, just a little flashier and a little louder. Mackie is also in a slightly better position to inherit the franchise than Sebastian Stan is. Though both are talented actors who have been working for a long time, and are just starting to break through to the mainstream, Mackie is a bit more well-known and dynamic than Stan, which will no doubt come in handy with all of the press and fan attention that the actor who plays Captain America will have to deal with. And like both Evans and Stan, Mackie is a fan favorite, having won over everyone with his enthusiasm for his character. Nobody loves Falcon more than Mackie, and nobody would love being Cap more than Mackie would.
Why We Probably Won’t See Mackie As Captain America: Unfortunately, it seems seriously unlikely that we will ever see Sam inherit the title of Captain America on the big screen. Since Marvel plans out every part of their Cinematic Universe well in advance of the films’ release, they have been laying the seeds for Bucky to take over for Cap for some time now, dropping hints in both Captain America films that foreshadow his eventual ascent to the title. It seems unlikely that they would abandon the foundations that they have been laying for years now in order to give Sam the shield, even if it would be a smart decision.
Making Falcon the new Captain America would also risk angering the very vocal subset of fans who are reluctant to see any drastic changes made to the characters that they have become so comfortable with. Any time a character’s race gets changed – like when Miles Morales became Spider Man or Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four or Samuel L. Jackson was picked to play Nick Fury – some fans get upset about it, and because their negative outlook gets attention from both press and other fans, the studios become convinced that their position is the one that the entire fandom holds. Studios aren’t going to want to risk alienating a major part of their audience, and so they continue to make the safest choices imaginable. Why else do you think it’s taken so long for us to get a female-fronted superhero film?
Despite the quality of their films and the diversity of the heroes and comic books they have to offer, Marvel is still focused on pleasing their fans in order to make money. That means that if they think that audiences will be happier watching the white dudes they’re comfortable with save the world, that’s what they’re going to give them. It doesn’t matter how many issues Sam’s tenure as Captain America sells, or how much praise the books get, transitioning from Evans to Stan is the safer choice, and therefore the one most likely to make the most moviegoers happy. By catering to the fans who make the most noise, even if they’re the smallest subset of the fandom, Marvel will feel like it’s catering to the entire fanbase, which is why it’s so difficult to get Hollywood studios to break away from their standard formula.
On top of that, there’s no telling exactly how long Sam’s run as Cap will last. Comic books are constantly revamping and rebooting themselves, which means that plots are constantly being retconned and changed. If Sam is only going to have a short run as Cap, then the filmmakers might be hesitant to restructure the films around this new development, especially if they’re worried about how fans will react. Yes, Bucky’s time as Cap wasn’t particularly long, but the shift in power has been around long enough that they not only know how fans feel about it, but they’ve also been able to work out how best to incorporate it into the films.
We might only get to see Sam as Captain America in the comic books, but at least we have the knowledge that even that is enough to make Anthony Mackie the happiest person on earth right now. And when Mackie's happy, everyone is.
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A project involving Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio sounds almost too good to be true. And in a way, it is.
According to Variety, Bale is currently in the final stages of signing on to work with DiCaprio in the film adaptation of Travis McGee's The Deep Blue Goodbye. DiCaprio was initially expected to star in the movie (back when we first heard about it in 2010), but now he's on the team of producers (with Appian Way) while Bale is in talks to take the lead role.
This movie has been a long time coming, but it sounds like it's finally headed for production. And while it's a bit disappointing that we won't get to see the two great stars on screen together, their names on the project—along with director James Mangold (Walk The Line, The Wolverine, and Girl, Interrupted)—give us high hopes.
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R&B star R. Kelly is expanding his resume by releasing a house music album inspired by his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
The I Believe I Can Fly hitmaker is working on a new record influenced by the music created in the Windy City in the late 1970s.
Kelly revealed his new project during a concert in Chicago last week (06Jul14), when he was caught on camera saying, "I want y'all to know a secret. I'm working on a house album right now, and I want y'all to know, it's coming."
"And y'all know, I love music and I feel like I can do anything when it comes to music because I am music - just like y'all."
The house music record is just one of many projects the singer is working on - in March (13), he announced he is planning a follow-up to his 2013 LP Black Panties, titled White Panties, and is reportedly also putting together a holiday album called The 12 Nights of Christmas.
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Production on Quentin Tarantino's new western The Hateful Eight has been pushed back until early 2015.
The Pulp Fiction filmmaker had been scheduled to begin shooting the post-Civil War project in November (14), but actor Kurt Russell reveals the shoot has been delayed.
He tells MyFoxPhilly.com, "I've got a Tarantino project called The Hateful Eight that looks like it may go somewhere around the beginning of the year."
Tarantino initially scrapped plans to make The Hateful Eight after an early draft of the screenplay appeared online earlier this year (14). He filed a $1 million (£588,235) copyright infringement lawsuit against editors at Gawker.com, accusing them of facilitating the leak after publishing a report about the script drama, but he withdrew the legal papers in May (14).
Russell is reportedly set to join a cast which includes Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern, all of whom took part in a live reading of the script at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in April (14).
Broadway's Tupac Shakur musical Holler If Ya Hear Me is to close early due to disappointing ticket sales.
The stage show, based on the music of the late rapper, officially opened at New York City's Palace Theatre on 19 June (14) and less than two months after its debut, the curtain will come down for the last time on Sunday (20Jul14).
Producer Eric L. Gold made the announcement on Monday night (14Jul14), attributing declining sales to the show's ultimate demise. He says, "We are so proud to be a part of this ground breaking production... My hope is that a production of this calibre, powerful in its story telling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves."
"It saddens me that due to the financial burdens of Broadway, I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway. Tupac's urgent socially important insights and the audiences' nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world."
The production reportedly cost $8 million (£4.7 million) to stage, and, after receiving mixed reviews from critics, box office figures have been declining ever since the show began previews on 2 June (14).
A British driving instructor who uses Samuel L. Jackson's name to promote his business was stunned to receive a personal phone call from the Hollywood actor himself. Samuel Jackson has become an Internet sensation after placing a learner 'L' plate in the middle of his title to boost interest in his driving school in Southport, England.
The stunt caught the attention of U.K. TV host Graham Norton, who rang the instructor last month (Jun14) while recording an episode of his talk show with the Pulp Fiction star as a guest.
Norton passed the phone to Jackson, who ribbed the driving tutor for stealing his famous name.
The British namesake explains, "I spoke to Graham Norton first, and we had some general chit chat about the driving school, then he passed me over to Samuel L. Jackson.
"It was all very light hearted, I think it was a little bit of a stocking filler. He didn't seem upset about me using the name and he was a nice guy."
The segment was cut out of the TV show, which aired in Britain last month (Jun14).
Reverend And The Makers frontman Jon Mcclure has publicly criticised Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, branding his hits "McDonald's music". The rocker is adamant The Girls hitmaker, who has carved out a successful global DJ career and regularly tops the charts with his dance tunes, represents all that is wrong with modern music.
He tells Britain's Daily Record newspaper, "People think because I don't like Calvin Harris that I must be anti-Scottish but I'm not.
"l love (Scottish acts) Django Django, Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, The Jesus and Mary Chain - but Calvin makes what I call McDonald's music.
"We came out at a similar time and both made vaguely electronic tunes with a band. And then his A&R (artists and repertoire) man said, 'Instead of doing that song with Leona Lewis, I'll get Rihanna to sing it. Pretend you're a DJ now and don't even be in a band.'
"He doesn't even like his own music. People graft (work) all week and pay a hundred and odd quid (sic) to go to a festival and when he plays live he's just pressing play on a CD."