George Harrison is set to be honoured by musicians including Brian Wilson and Norah Jones at a star-studded tribute concert, dubbed George Fest. The Beatles guitarist's tunes will be performed by some of music's most notable rockers during the celebration at Los Angeles' El Rey Theatre on 28 September (14).
Taking the stage alongside Wilson and Jones will be Heart star Ann Wilson, 'Weird Al' Yankovic, the Killers' Brandon Flowers and Mark Stoermer, the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd, Spoon's Britt Daniel, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and members of The Strokes and Weezer, among others.
Harrison's son, Dhani, is also set to take the stage, as well as some surprise guests.
Profits from the gig will benefit the Sweet Relief organisation, which aids career musicians who are in financial need.
George Fest will take place three days after a new six-disc Harrison box set, The Apple Years 1968-75, is released.
Actor Miltos Yerolemou is set to reunite with his Game Of Thrones co-star Gwendoline Christie on the set of the new Star Wars film. The Greek actor, who played swordsman Syrio Forel in the fantasy TV series, has become a late addition to the cast of director J.J. Abrams' sci-fi sequel after landing a small role in Star Wars: Episode VII.
Christie's casting was announced earlier this summer (14), when producers also revealed Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o would be appearing onscreen alongside the likes of Andy Serkis, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and original franchise stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill.
Shooting on the highly-anticipated Star Wars project recently resumed in the U.K. following a brief hiatus to allow veteran actor Ford to fully recover from a broken leg injury sustained on the set in June (14).
Star Wars: Episode VII is due for release in December, 2015.
20th Century Fox Film
Filming on the new Star Wars sequel has resumed in the U.K. after director J.J. Abrams stalled the project to allow Harrison Ford to fully recover from a broken leg injury sustained on the set in June (14).
Abrams and his cast and crew regrouped at Pinewood Studios earlier this week (beg25Aug14), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Ford broke his leg when the Millennium Falcon spacecraft his character Han Solo pilots rolled onto him. The actor underwent surgery and production stalled earlier this month (Aug14) as cast and crew waited for Ford's return.
Executives at Disney and Lucasfilm insist Ford's injury and the shooting hiatus will not delay the film's release. It is scheduled to hit cinemas all over the world in December, 2015.
A flame-haired Irish wrestler has hinted he'll be the man behind Darth Vader's mask in the new Star Wars films. WWE champion Sheamus has been linked to the role British actor Dave Prowse played in the first three Star Wars movies, and he has fuelled the speculation on Twitter.com.
The fighter, real name Stephen Farrelly, has been spotted close to where filming is taking place on Skellig Michael Island in Ireland, and he recently posted a photo of himself wielding a toy lightsaber on Twitter.com.
The new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars sequel will feature returning stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, once he recovers from a leg injury, and Oscar Isaacs, Adam Driver and Andy Serkis, among others.
If you’ve even given the Internet a cursory glance over the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Chris Pratt is having a moment right now. Thanks to a starring role in Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the biggest movies of the year, even people who’ve never seen an episode of Parks and Recreation or Everwood are being clued into his goofy, lovable charms. But playing Peter Quill is bound to have more long-term effects on Pratt’s career than simply giving him a venue to showcase his French-braiding skills – the question that remains is whether these will be positive effects.
Obviously, getting to play a superhero in a Marvel film is going to be amazing for any actor. They’re easily the biggest, most-exciting films of the year; they guarantee you plenty of press attention and new fans, and open you up to countless new opportunities and projects. But what about the times Pratt won’t be protecting the galaxy? Actors who star in superhero and sci-fi franchises often struggle to break out of the shadow of their famous characters. Leonard Nimoy and George Takei will always be Spock and Sulu, no matter what other projects they pursue; despite the beard, Mark Hamill is still known as Luke Skywalker; even Michael Keaton has yet to surpass his Batman fame. Once you become recognized for a single, beloved character, it’s hard for fans to see you any other way, which could result in Pratt being stuck as Star-Lord for the rest of his career.
Despite being part of one of the most iconic franchises of all time, only Harrison Ford was really able to break away from his Star Wars character, which he did by jumping straight into the Indiana Jones series. Pratt is taking a somewhat similar path, following up Guardians of the Galaxy with Jurassic World, which should help keep him in people’s minds as something other than Star-Lord. Still, from what we’ve heard, Pratt’s character Owen seems to be similarly confident and wise-cracking, which could result in him being typecast as the good-looking jokester. Considering the fact that Pratt only just stopped being typecast as the “chubby, dumb best friend,” that’s not necessarily a step forward, even if it does guarantee him more leading roles. And since there are so many more actors in Hollywood who specialize in those kinds of roles, it means that Pratt will face a lot more competition for parts.
Becoming known solely as Star-Lord could also make it harder for Pratt to play the kind of supporting character roles that he’s done well with lately, like the underdog baseball player in Moneyball and the good-hearted but doofy colleague in Her. Now that he’s considered a leading man, he might not be considered for those roles anymore. Even if he is, it could be hard for audiences to see him as anything else, which could pull them out of the film. Sure, Star-Lord’s a nice guy and all, but who would actually believe that he’s working at a company that writes love letters?
Look at some of Pratt’s superhero contemporaries: it doesn’t matter what film Robert Downey Jr.’s in, he’s most likely playing the handsome jerk. Scarlett Johansson is almost always the tough girl. And Jeremy Renner is... constantly overlooked. It would be very easy for Pratt to get typecast as the rule-breaking wisecracker. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be great at those parts – he obviously plays them well – but it does put him in a box.
However, Pratt does have an extensive background in television, which gives him an advantage over some of his fellow Marvel heroes. Andy Dwyer and Peter Quill have a fair amount of similarities, but where one is a schlubby slacker, the other is an adventurous go-getter. And both are different still from Bright Abbott, the obnoxious football player Pratt played on Everwood. He’s already proved that he has the range to handle a variety of characters, and now that people are finally paying attention to him, that should help open him up to a different slate of roles and opportunities. Pratt’s got the talent and the charm to play almost anything, as his extensive sitcom past proves, so to keep him locked into one type of character for the rest of his career would be disappointing.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
There are a lot of people in Hollywood who are considered sci-fi icons – George Takei, Harrison Ford, Lynda Carter – but when it comes to current sci-fi and superhero blockbusters, there’s one woman who reigns above them all: Zoe Saldana. Friday’s Guardians of the Galaxy will mark her third starring role in a major sci-fi franchise, and she’s effortlessly made the jump from one iconic character to another, earning fans and rave reviews every time. But when you think Star Trek or Avatar or even Guardians of the Galaxy, her face likely isn’t the first one that pops into your head. For some reason, Saldana hasn’t quite been able to make the jump from blockbusters to international superstar.
Major superhero and sci-fi blockbusters have a history of turning unknown or underrated actors into A-list stars. Henry Cavill was just “that guy from that thing” before he became Superman. Tom Hiddleston went from a theater darling to making women everywhere scream their heads off thanks to The Avengers. Even Sam Worthington was omnipresent for a solid year or so after Avatar was released. And yet Saldana is still best known as the “blue girl from Avatar” or “the one woman in the new Star Trek films” despite having three times as many franchises under her belt. It could be argued that Cavill and Hiddleston have a background in more prestigious projects, which has helped them become more recognizable. But Saldana also has plenty of impressive films under her belt, including collaborations with directors like Steven Spielberg, Neil LaBute, and Guillame Canet. She’s even starring in a biopic about Nina Simone, which is the kind of cinematic catnip that neither the Oscars nor audiences can resist.
What, then, is keeping Saldana from enjoying the kind of fame that other franchise stars have? Do audiences have trouble recognizing her thanks to the various CGI and full-bodied makeups that have turned her blue, green, and everything in between? Is it because she’s a member of an ensemble cast in Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy, the two films where her face hasn’t been digitally altered? Is it just because she’s not playing the sullen, broody one with daddy issues?
It’s certainly not due to lack of talent, as Saldana has always given compelling, complex performances, even in her smallest roles – remember Crossroads? She was by far the best thing about that movie – and often chooses characters that are tough and complicated. Neytiri and Uhura are interesting, strong, sometimes difficult women with a great deal of depth to them. However, despite the attention all of those characters have gotten, it still pales in comparison to the fan bases that their male counterparts have received, which has likely contributed to the smaller nature of Saldana’s general fan base.
Still, it’s likely that Gamora could be the key to launching Saldana into superstardom, or, at the very least, to being more than just “the blue one.” Though both Star Trek and Avatar were incredibly successful, Marvel’s films are currently the biggest, most attention-grabbing franchises in theaters thanks to the resurgence of superhero films and the excitement surrounding them. She’s already getting more attention and press for Gamora than she did for Neytiri or Uhura, which is probably due to the fact that Gamora is a more prominent lead than the other two. Yes, Neytiri is the only Na’vi anyone can name, but Saldana herself was overshadowed by more familiar names like Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez. The biggest name in the Guardians cast, by contrast, is Bradley Cooper, who is only doing voiceover work in the film.
The fact that she’s already starred in two other major franchises should also help Gamora become Saldana’s biggest role yet. She’s already familiar to causal moviegoers, even if they still can’t quite place her name. She’s also established herself as a fashion darling, which means that she’s likely to have graced the cover of many high-selling magazines, which is another important step towards helping her move onto the A-list. And since everyone loves a celebrity baby, she’s likely to get even more press over the course of the next few months, which will help keep her in the public’s consciousness.
Her upcoming film Nina could also be a major factor. Saldana’s always been able to balance action-heavy blockbusters with serious, quiet dramas, but she’s yet to properly breakthrough in the latter. A biopic of a major icon could be exactly the kind of films she needs to gain some awards attention, and all of the promotion that Oscar season entails would definitely encourage more people to pay attention to her. However, thus far, the film has been plagued by filming delays on controversy, so if the final product isn’t exceptional, it might do more harm than good.
Of course, if Guardians of the Galaxy does even half as well as some of its predecessors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it might just be enough to balance out any possible mis-steps, and ensure that Saldana finally gets the kind of attention that she deserves. After all, Scarlett Johansson can't play every female superhero out there.
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has branded Harrison Ford's on-set accident "really terrible" but insists the Hollywood legend is now "doing really well".
The Indiana Jones star, 71, broke his leg on the set of the new installment of the sci-fi franchise, Star Wars: Episode VII, last month (Jun14) in an accident involving a prop spaceship.
Ford returned to the U.S. after he was released from hospital and could be out of action for several months as he recovers from his injury, but his original Star Wars co-star Hamill, who also appears in the new movie, is adamant his pal will be back on his feet soon.
Hamill tells the BBC, "I was not on set. It sounded really terrible but I hear he's doing really well. It will take more than that to stop Harrison Ford."
The actor, who plays Luke Skywalker, adds of the Star Wars project, "It was certainly unexpected (to return). I (my character) already had a beginning, middle and end. I never thought we'd come back. I still can't believe it's happening... To go on to those sets that evoked so many memories. It is just astonishing."
United Artists via Everett Collection
The Beatles' influence has touched every inch of modern pop music, leaving an indelible mark on film and television... which is pretty good for four working-class mop tops from Liverpool. Director Ron Howard will be the next to immortalize the band onscreen, in a new documentary that will explore the group's early years, when they still toured their music across the globe. Surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison will contribute to the feature, which will trace the band's humble beginnings at the Caven Club in Liverpool, their tours through Germany, all the way through the group's final public performance in San Francisco's Candlestick park. But before we get around to seeing Howard's tribute to the Beatles, we're inclined to look back upon some of the best musical contributions they made to movies and TV.
Bowling for ColumbineThe last half of the John Lennon-penned "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," which may or may not be about heroin, serves as the perfect soundtrack for Michael Moore's anti-gun manifesto Bowling for Columbine. It's used in a terrifying sequence that shows just how gun crazy some Americans are, and as the song ramps up, the sequence escalates to a violent and unnerving conclusion that still has us wincing all these years later.
"Baby, You're a Rich Man" in The Social NetworkWhat better way to end a biopic about one of the richest men in the universe than this cut from Magical Mystery Tour. It's so fitting, it's almost like it was made expressly to cap off David Fincher's tale of billion dollar grudges.
"You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" in HelpWe couldn't, in good faith, compile a list of the best Beatles moments in film and television without including a sequence from the Fab Four's own filmography. We chose "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" the film Help for sheer oddness of the sequence. Plus, it's just a great song in general.
"In My Life" in Little ManhattanThe best thing about the Beatles is how timeless their music is. "In My Life," a song about losing and gaining friendships through the slippage of time, is the perfect piece of music to accompany the story about a preteen losing his first love in modern day New York.
"A Little Help From My Friends" on The Wonder YearsJohn Cocker's throaty rendition of "A Little Help from My Friends" graces the title sequence of The Wonder Years, and it may be the best cover song ever recorded. It's even better than the original Beatles tune, and it just makes The Wonder Years a better show. Nowadays, we can't even look at Fred Savage without hearing Cocker's raspy croon blasting through our heads at full volume.
"Come Together" in A Bronx TaleIn a scene from Robert De Niro's directoral debut, a pair of Italian mafiosos rough up a couple of unruly bikers that stop into their bar while "Come Together" spills out of a jukebox. Thanks to the '60s aesthetic, the song is a perfect addition to the scene.
"Hey Jude" in The Royal TenenbaumsFilmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese are often celebrated for their use of pop music in film, but Wes Anderson's musical touches in his work are just as poignant. His use of a beautifully orchestrated version of "Hey Jude" in 2001's The Royal Tenanbaums is a perfect example of this.
"Twist and Shout" in Ferris Bueller's Day OffWe're still not sure if Ferris Bueller is really a wizard, or if it was just the power of music, but the teen somehow brings the entirety of downtown Chicago to a grinding halt for the musical number to end all musical numbers.
Lucasfilm via Everett Collection
Production on J.J. Abrams' highly-anticipated Star Wars: Episode Vii film will be suspended for two weeks in August (14) as a result of Harrison Ford's onset injury.
The veteran actor, 71, sustained a broken leg in early June (14) when the door of the Millennium Falcon spacecraft fell on top of him while shooting at the U.K.'s Pinewood Studios.
He underwent surgery and was recently photographed back on his feet with the help of a special supportive crutch, less than three weeks after the accident. Filming continued in Ford's absence, but now Disney studio executives have decided to halt production for a fortnight next month (Aug14) to allow Abrams to rework the shooting schedule.
However, Disney bosses insist Star Wars: Episode VII is still "on track" to wrap this autumn (14) and will be in movie theatres for its planned December, 2015 release date.
Meanwhile, Abrams has added two new castmembers to the film - acting newcomers Crystal Clarke and Pip Anderson - although details about their roles are being kept under wraps.
They join the likes of Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis and original franchise stars Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in Episode VII.
Moviemaker Richard Lester has opened up about his time shooting films with The Beatles in the 1960s, branding Sir Paul McCartney too enthusiastic to act. The Superman II director helmed the Fab Four's first big screen outing in A Hard Day's Night in 1964 and he went on to work with them again the following year (65) on Help!
Now he has given his verdict on the rock stars' abilities in front of camera, praising George Harrison and Ringo Starr but suggesting McCartney was wise to stick to his music career.
Lester tells NME magazine, "(Harrison) didn't try to do too much, but always hit it right in the middle. (McCartney) was so enthusiastic he perhaps tried too hard. (Lennon) had some cutting words for me at times."
The director said there were concerns among the crew when Starr was tasked to shoot a solo scene but he was delighted when the drummer played his role perfectly.
A Hard Day's Night has been digitally restored and remixed to mark its 50th anniversary, and will be re-released on DVD and Blu-ray later this month (Jul14).