Helena Bonham Carter is set to reunite with her ex-boyfriend Kenneth Branagh as the Fairy Godmother in a new movie version of classic fairytale Cinderella. Branagh will direct the live-action fantasy, which will feature Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother and Lily James as Cinderella.
Reports suggest Game of Thrones star Richard Madden, Downton Abbey's Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger are also in talks for roles in the project.
It may be the most famous scene in Western literature: Romeo’s declaration of love beneath Juliet’s balcony. So how do you stage it without words? If you stage it as a dance how do you deal with the separation of the two lovers? Sir Kenneth MacMillan provided an easy answer in his choreography for Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. You get Juliet off that balcony and down on terra firma for a pas de deux with Romeo stat. The challenge is that the dancers’ physicality has to be as good as Shakespeare’s words.
Cory Stearns and Gillian Murphy of the American Ballet Theatre meet MacMillan’s challenge as the star-crossed title characters in a new production of Prokofiev’s ballet playing at Lincoln Center through June 15. But they’re lucky. They have the support of the spare-no-expenses American Ballet Theatre ethos. It’s resulted in another sumptuous, soaring ballet.
ABT’s Romeo and Juliet opens on the marketplace of Verona. There’s a wooden stairway, several stalls for vendors, some hay scattered about, all the little organic details the company likes to establish for complete immersion. The marketplace slowly comes alive as the baker arrives, then the blacksmith, then the fishmonger. This is a living space, perfect for MacMillan’s unfussy, down-to-earth choreographic style. He even integrates some elements of northern Italian folkdance into the traditional ballet when he has a group of wheat-toting women perform light clogging. Before you know it, the entire marketplace has erupted in violence with Montagues dueling Capulets via some fierce swordplay.
MacMillan’s democratic style meant populating his stage with a multitude of elements at once and encouraging you to scan about and perceive as many details as possible. That means any of the background peasants get as much attention as Tybalt and Mercutio. Only Romeo and Juliet themselves get the spotlight. As Romeo, Cory Stearns, who’s only been a principal at ABT for two years, is athletic and engaging. The Long Island native is more streamlined than muscular, perfect for capturing a youth in the throes of his first true passion. And Gillian Murphy, a South Carolina prodigy who’s been a principal for eleven years, is appropriately willowy and ethereal.
In bringing life to their characters, Stearns and Murphy are supported by Prokofiev’s propulsive 1935 score, conducted here by Charles Barker. The Russian modernist was a master of narrativizing music, and he’s best known today for teasing out the full drama of his works by assigning themes to each of his characters. One of his most famous pieces, Peter and the Wolf, goes so far as to designate a specific instrument for each animal in the story. Something similar happens here, with flutes corresponding to Juliet and strings to Romeo. But overall, Romeo and Juliet is one of Prokofiev’s looser compositions. In conjunction with MacMillan’s choreography it’s a ballet that exists on the opposite pole from, say, Prokofiev’s score for the film Alexander Nevsky, in which the music is perfectly synchronized with the images — a vision of determinism reflecting a time in which free will seemed unattainable in Russian society.
The one time you feel that level of control in Romeo and Juliet is, of course, the famous “Dance of the Knights,” a brooding, violent piece in which the Montagues and Capulets march with militaristic menace. MacMillan places the two camps in strictly regimented formation as if the Montagues and Capulets are extras in Triumph of the Will. It’s easy to imagine that Prokofiev, living at the height of Stalin’s “show trials” and with the Nazis about ready to march across Europe, might have likened the Montagues and Capulets’ culture of violence to ‘30s fascism. Not traditional romantic music, Prokofiev’s composition seems to underline the lovers’ break from tradition more than their sensual longing. It shows that Romeo and Juliet truly is timeless, because it can be so easily modified to fit the priorities of the time in which it’s retold.
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Downton Abbey star Sophie Mcshera is reportedly in talks to play one of Cinderella's ugly sisters in Kenneth Branagh's star-studded movie adaptation of the classic fairytale. Lily James and Cate Blanchett have already been cast as the title character and her evil stepmother, respectively, and now it appears McShera will team up with The Borgias' Holliday Grainger to play the live action film's selfish siblings, Drisella and Anastasia.
McShera is best known as Downton Abbey's moody maid Daisy Mason.
Game of Thrones star Richard Madden has landed the coveted role of Prince Charming in Branagh's film.
Five Stairsteps frontman Clarence Burke, Jr. has died at the age of 64. The singer, famed for hit track O-o-h Child, passed away on Sunday (26May13), a day after his 64th birthday, in his adopted home of Marietta, Georgia.
No further details about his death were available as WENN went to press.
Burke, Jr. formed family group the Five Stairsteps in 1965 with his three brothers, James, Dennis and Kenneth, and their sister, Alohe, and he was just 17 when they enjoyed their first hit with You Waited Too Long in 1966.
The group's other hits included World of Fantasy, Don't Change Your Love and well-known song O-o-h Child.
Burke, Jr. was the group's lead singer and main songwriter and he continued to work in the music industry after they disbanded in the 1970s.
The brothers briefly reformed under the name Invisible Man's Band and enjoyed a hit with All Night Thing in 1980.
Burke, Jr. continued as a solo artist in more recent years.
Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Judy Garland's beloved hairstylist has died at the age of 86. Kenneth Battelle passed away at his home in Wappingers Falls, New York on Sunday (12May13), according to the New York Times.
The hairdresser gained fame in the 1950s for his roster of celebrity clientele, which over the years has included a variety of screen icons like Lucille Ball, former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and high-profile socialite Brooke Astor.
Born in Syracuse, Battelle attended beauty school after he was discharged from the U.S. Navy and went on to become a popular stylist in Miami, Florida before moving to Manhattan to open his own salon, where he was credited with restoring the Some Like It Hot star's platinum blonde hair and perfecting Onassis' iconic bouffant.
He retired in 2011.
Game Of Thrones star Richard Madden has landed the coveted role of Prince Charming in Kenneth Branagh's movie adaptation of the classic fairytale Cinderella. The actor, who plays Robb Stark in the cult TV fantasy drama, will romance Downton Abbey's Lily James in the new blockbuster, which also features Cate Blanchett as the titular character's wicked stepmother.
Retired athlete Dennis Rodman is calling on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to release a U.S. citizen imprisoned for allegedly committing unspecified "hostile acts" against the country's oppressive regime. The former Chicago Bulls ace made headlines earlier this year (Feb13) when he struck up an unusual friendship with the dictator during a visit to the country to run a basketball camp for children.
He is now requesting the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American, who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour in April (13) after his arrest in November last year (12).
Taking to his Twitter.com page, Rodman writes, "I'm calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him 'Kim', to do me a solid (favour) and cut Kenneth Bae loose."
Rapper R. Prophet has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and public intoxication following his arrest in Kentucky last month (Apr13). The former Nappy Roots star, real name Kenneth Ryan Anthony, clashed with police on 20 April (13) after he was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI).
He reportedly resisted arrest, and the altercation left him nursing cuts and bruises to his face, wrists and legs.
He maintains he was fully co-operative during the incident, but he was slapped with third degree assault and public intoxication counts, in addition to resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and menacing.
The musician has denied all charges and he has been ordered to return to court on 5 July (13), reports TMZ.com.
The glass shoe fits for Downton Abbey star Lily James - the Brit will play Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh's upcoming movie adaptation of the classic fairytale. The 24 year old, who plays flighty Lady Rose MacClare on the hit period drama, has beaten out the likes of Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan and Dark Shadows beauty Bella Heathcote for the part of the Disney princess in the live-action remake, which is set to be released in 2014.
Actress Cate Blanchett will portray her evil stepmother, while Game of Thrones hunk Richard Madden is in talks to play Prince Charming.
Branagh will start shooting in London later this year (13).
They’ve finally found her! After months of searching for the perfect fit, Disney has found an actress who will slip her feet into the timeless role of the girl who lost her shoe. Walt Disney Studios announced Tuesday that the rags turned riches princess will be played by Lily James in the upcoming live-action interpretation of Cinderella.
The 24-year-old actress, who is best known for her role in Downton Abbey as the rebellious Lady Rose MacClare, will star opposite Cate Blanchett. It was revealed back in November that Blanchett will join the leagues of the wicked women in Hollywood and will play the iconic role of the evil stepmother.
The two leading ladies will be directed by Thor’s Sir Kenneth Branagh and more additional details surrounding the highly anticipated fairytale film will be revealed in the next couple of weeks.
Do you think James will be an enchanting Cinderella? Who would you like to see as Prince Charming? Cast your spell in the comments below!
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