The official cast of Star Wars: Episode Vii has been revealed. Original Star Wars icons Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will return to the franchise, as expected, while Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) will reprise their beloved characters too.
Also announced are Attack The Block star John Boyega, actress Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow.
The casting news was posted on the Star Wars Facebook page on Tuesday morning (29Apr14), just days after speculation about Ford, Fisher and Hamill's involvement in Episode VII reached fever pitch after it became clear that all three were in London, where filming on the blockbuster is about to begin. Over the weekend, they were spotted at a cast dinner with Driver and Serkis.
A statement from director J.J. Abrams reads: "We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud."
The film is due to hit theatres in December, 2015.
20th Century Fox Film
Hi, Nancy.Hi, Helen.What's the story, morning glory?What's the word, hummingbird?Have you heard about Hugo and Kim? They were cast in Star Wars: Episode VII, although there's no confirmation just yet. I think Kim's playing Bib Fortuna.
That's pretty much what the last year and change has felt like — rumors upon rumors upon rumors of who might be cast in J.J. Abrams' upcoming addition to the Star Wars series. We've heard tell of Clone War veterans reuniting for the film, blockbuster fixtures like Gary Oldman and Andy Serkis, rising indie mavens drawing notice from their turns in Coen Bros dramas and HBO series. But the waiting is over. Courtesy of TheWrap, we have official news of the 12 performers cast to headline the next Star Wars movie. Here's who they are, where you might know them from, and what we can expect from them in the new film.
Mark HamillBest known as: Luke Skywalker, power converter spendthrift and daddy issues-haver.Age: 62.In the new movie: We know very little of what Hamill will be brought on to do in the upcoming film, though with his standing as the Original Trilogy's central hero and his family rallied at the head of this story (presumably), we imagine that Hamill will have a good amount to do.
Carrie FisherBest known as: Princess Leia Organa, rigid adversary of the nerf herder lobby.Age: 57.In the new movie: We've been told, in only the most tenuous terms, that Star Wars: Episode VII will focus on Han and Leia's kids. So even if she and Ford are sidelined as the parental figures who've seen it all before (hey, it's kind of like that new Boy Meets World spinoff), then they'll likely be around for a healthy sum.
Harrison FordBest known as: Han Solo, alleged Kessel Run record holder and reformed atheist.Age: 71In the new movie: On top of the above, new rumors allow that Ford will have a pretty significant role in the new film. Considering his latter days screen presence, we imagine something in the vein of an extended carbonite nap. A few are actually predicting that Han might bite the dust in VII.
Peter MayhewBest known as: Chewbacca, devoted Life Day celebrant and family man.Age: 69 (though that's only like, 14 in Wookiee years).In the new movie: Some people are already pretty livid that Chewbacca's in the film at all, considering his death in the Expanded Universe, but you don't bring out the Wookiee suit just to have him play canasta.
Anthony DanielsBest known as: C-3PO, buzzkill.Age: 68.In the new movie: I don't know, probably a lot of kvetching.
Kenny BakerBest known as: R2-D2, frequent film extra and Robot Hall of Fame inductee.Age: 79.In the new movie: Doot beep beeeooo doot.
Oscar IsaacBest known as: The titular misanthropic folk musician in the Coen Brothers' 2013 film Inside Llewyn Davis.Age: 35.In the new movie: Isaac's role is anyone's guess at this point, although two call-outs in a casting release from last year speak to his nature. He might be playing "a late 20-something male. Fit, handsome, and confident," or, more likely, "a 30-something male, intellectual. Apparently does not need to be fit."
Adam DriverBest known as: Adam, the Lena Dunham's oddball love interest on the HBO dramedy Girls, or the space cowboy from Inside Llewyn Davis.Age: 30.In the new movie: Rumors surrounding Driver's initial mention in regard to the film had him pegged to be the villain. We had some fun with that one.
Andy SerkisBest known as: Gollum from The Lord of the Rings movies.Age: 50.In the new movie: Considering his mo-cap history, Serkis is probably playing an alien. And that's awesome.
Max von SydowBest known as: Blofeld in Never Say Never Again, the older priest in The Exorcist, or the guy from all those Ingmar Bergman films.Age: 85.In the new movie: Last fall's casting call advertised the film's search for "a 70-something male with strong opinions and a tough demeanor," exempting the necessity for physical fitness. We can't get more specific than this but it seems like von Sydow is going to be taking on some kind of authoritarian position. Maybe at the Academy (training the Solo kids, per chance), or as the penny-pinching new owner of the Cantina.
Domhnall GleesonBest known as: Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies, or the fellow from About Time.Age: 30.In the new movie: Gleeson could rival Isaac in either of the character descriptions mentioned above, though he does seem more the intellectual type (if only for the British accent).
John BoyegaBest known as: The kid from Attack the Block.Age: 22.In the new movie: Boyega could be playing the character Thomas that was advertised in a casting call last year:
"Young man to play 19-23 years old. Must be handsome, smart and athletic. Must be 18 or over. Has grown up without a father's influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn't have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this, he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can't take life too seriously."
Daisy RidleyShe's pretty new.Age: I don't know — 20? In the new movie: Could be Rachel, who was introduced in the same casting call:
"Young woman to play 17-18 Years old. Must be beautiful, smart and athletic. Open to all ethnicities (including bi- and multi-racial). Must be 16 or over. Was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to make her way alone in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17 she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by. Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead."
So there you have it: still a whole lot of grey area! But at least we know something!
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Walt Disney Co. via Everett Collection
When it comes to Old Hollywood, there is one name that has come to represent all of the glamour, intrigue and scandals of yesteryear: Marilyn Monroe. Therefore, it's no surprise that yet another Marilyn-centered project is in the works, this time with Jessica Chastain shimmying her way into the role. The Oscar nominee is set to star in the big screen adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' fictionalized biography, Blonde, which will be helmed by The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford writer/director Andrew Dominik. The project has been in the works for some time now, with Naomi Watts attached at one point to star, but it seems that Chastain's involvement may be exactly what Blonde needs to get off the ground.
The film, which Dominik has previously described as a "really sprawling, emotional nightmare fairy-tale type movie," follows a reincarnated Marilyn Monroe as she tells her own account of her tragic life, and how she transformed herself from Norma Jean Baker into the biggest movie star on the planet. While it seems as if Blonde will tackle Monroe's legend from a slightly different perspective, it's still difficult to muster up a great deal of excitement for the film. After all, there have been so many films, television series and novels recently revolving around the icon and her tragic life, from traditional biopics like My Week with Marilyn to the star-studded documentary Love, Marilyn to making her the subject matter of the fictional musical in Smash. We've heard Monroe's story told a million different ways, and, frankly, it's starting to lose its charm.
It's officially time for Hollywood to stop producing Monroe-related projects, at least for a while. It's understandable that Monroe, possibly the most famous movie star of all time, would be the inspiration for countless creative endeavors, but all of these films just seem to present the same information and act out the same events, with only the subtlest of details to differentiate them. It's always about the separation between who Monroe was to the world — the most glamourous, beautiful, mesmerizing woman to hit the silver screen — and who she was behind the scenes, and the internal conflicts she dealt with on a daily basis. And while that makes for an incredibly compelling story, the kind both writers and actors dream of sinking their teeth into, it's exhausting for audiences to see the same thing over and over again.
Monroe's story might incorporate everything that filmmakers find enticing, but there are only so many ways to tell it before it starts to become repetitive, which is going to make it harder to attract audiences to come see it. Sure, the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood tends to go a long way in getting moviegoers into seats, but if they feel they've already seen a film or if it doesn't seem to offer anything new to keep them excited and engaged, they're going to feel it's a waste of time. Blonde is not just going to be competing against the other films being released at the same time, but also against all of the Monroe-related films that came before it.
Her legend is well-worn territory at this point, and so filmmakers who are interested in it need to find a way to make their project stand out. As a prominent historical figure, especially one who is portrayed so often onscreen and in pop culture, every detail of her story has been put onscreen at least once, which means that no matter how a project attempts to differentiate itself, it always ends up recycling the same information over and over again. It also means that there are numerous stories about Old Hollywood that are left untold, stories that are just as compelling, enticing and heartbreaking as Monroe's.
And there are countless Golden Age movie stars who are overlooked or forgotten, despite living the kind of lives that are ideal cinematic inspiration. Despite starring in one of the most scandalous films of the time at age 18, escaping and unhappy marriage and Nazi-occupied Austria while disguised as her own maid and inventing the technology used in modern wireless communications, Hedy Lamarr has surprisingly never been the focus of a Hollywood film. Rita Hayworth's difficult journey to Hollywood stardom — which included getting electrolysis to change her hairline in order to hide the fact that she was Spanish — and tumultuous relationships with many big names would make an incredibly juicy biopic. There's never been a film about Clara Bow, the It Girl of the Roaring '20s, or Josephine Baker, the first black woman to star in a major movie, or Marlene Deitrich, who defied conventional gender roles and had a string of affairs with both men and women.
All of these stories would offer the same combination of glamour, intrigue, and emotion (some would even be perfect for Chastian, if she's looking for a follow-up project) without retreading the same ground that yet another Monroe film does. We're just as interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look at the Golden Age of Hollywood as the filmmakers who churn out movie after movie about Monroe are, but there are plenty of other places to look for inspiration. Sticking with the same old story is fine, but after a while, the sparkle starts to dull, and audiences become bored. At this point, another Monroe film just seems lazy, like the endless stream of sequels and reboots of lackluster action films. It may have been a big box office draw at one point, but now, it's just tired.
Chastian is an incredibly talented actress, and she'll likely give an incredible performance, one that incorporates all of the vulnerability and glamour that Monroe's story requires. But it's time for that story to be laid to rest for a while, and it's time for Hollywood to let some other stars shine.
Jessica Chastain is set to become the latest actress to portray movie icon Marilyn Monroe on the big screen after reportedly landing the lead in director Andrew Dominik's new drama Blonde. The Zero Dark Thirty star will replace Naomi Watts in the project, an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' novel of the same name, according to TheWrap.com.
The book, which landed the author Pulitzer Prize consideration when it was released in 2001, conjures up Monroe's spirit and attempts to tell the actress' story from the point of view of Norma Jeane Baker - the Some Like it Hot star's real name. If the casting news is true, Chastain will join the likes of Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn), Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd (Norma Jean & Marilyn) and Susan Griffiths (Marilyn & Me), who have also portrayed Monroe, while Australian actress Poppy Montgomery played the screen icon in a TV mini-series adaptation of Blonde in 2001.
Singer Anita Baker has countersued a decorating company after she was accused of failing to pay an outstanding bill. Last month (Mar14), a judge issued a warrant for the Grammy winner's arrest over allegations she had failed to show up for a court hearing in Michigan relating a claim she owed $15,000 (£9,375) to bosses at Ray A. Smith Painting & Decorating.
The warrant was subsequently dismissed after Baker claimed she had been unaware of the legal action.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Edward Ewell ruled the lawsuit could still go ahead and set a hearing for 25 April (14), and now the singer has filed her own counter suit.
Her attorney claims the company "intended to put her in as embarrassing a light as possible".
The decorating firm's lawsuit was originally filed in 2011 after the company allegedly undertook renovation work at Baker's home in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
Rock trio Cream cancelled plans for a long-awaited reunion tour last year (13) following a dispute between the bandmembers. The former bandmates - Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce - last reunited for a series of comeback concerts in London and New York in 2005, but it has now emerged they were hoping to hit the road again in late 2013 or 2014.
However, Bruce has revealed the tour plans were scrapped following a spat between Clapton and Baker.
He tells Rolling Stone, "I think last year or this year, everybody had agreed about doing it. But then I think Ginger upset Eric... He said something or did something, so it's not happening. It's always been like that. The first time it (a reunion) was mooted was when we were all 'indicted' to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And that was in '93. And what happened in 2005. That's the way it goes. It's fine. I think we said what we had to say at the time. And it was nice to have that little comeback. For me, that was just about right."
Reports suggest the previous Cream reunion came to a halt because of a bust-up between Clapton and Baker.
"The monsters on Doctor Who were never so amazing as the monsters on the sixth floor of the BBC. There were some improbable looking people there." Veteran British actor Tom Baker was more scared of his television bosses than he was of the monsters he had to face while playing Doctor Who between 1974 and 1981.
Playwright Annie Baker can add Pulitzer Prize winner to her resume after landing the Drama award for her Off Broadway production of The Flick. The three-hour play about a rudderless generation premiered at Playwright's Horizons in March, 2013.
Kelly Osbourne is getting animated to star in a new cartoon series about Snow White's Seven Dwarfs. The singer and reality TV personality has signed on to voice the witch Hildy Gloom in The 7D, an animated show about the fairytale dwarfs and their efforts to keep Queen Delightful happy as her nemesis attempts to take over their kingdom.
Osbourne joins a cast which includes voice actors Bill Farmer, Maurice LaMarche and Dee Bradley Baker, and the series is due to air in America this summer (14).
The 7D isn't Osbourne's first acting job - she previously appeared in Austin Powers in Goldmember and British TV drama Hotel Babylon, while she recently shot a guest role as a flight attendant in the forthcoming Sharknado sequel.
The 29 year old will be able to turn to her mother, Sharon, for voice acting advice - the rock matriarch brought Mama Hook to life in cartoon TV series Jake and the Never Land Pirates, which aired in 2012 and 2013.
British actor Jamie Lomas is facing a police investigation over allegations he punched a personal trainer who dated his ex-wife Kym Marsh. The singer/actress' divorce from Lomas was finalised in January (14) and shortly afterwards, she dated personal trainer Matt Baker for six weeks.
Lomas, 33, best known for his roles in U.K. soap operas Hollyoaks and EastEnders, is alleged to have become embroiled in a scuffle with Baker at a bar in Manchester, England in the early hours of Sunday morning (06Apr14), and police have since launched an investigation.
A police spokesperson says, "A male reported an assault at (bar) Panacea at 1.30am. He reported it to the police at 11.30am. An appointment is being made to speak to him to give an account."