Jessica Chastain felt more than comfortable working with writer/director Ned Benson on their new movie The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, because the filmmaker is her ex-boyfriend. The famously private Zero Dark Thirty star reveals she remained friends with Benson long after their romantic relationship ended, and once she found fame with her breakthrough role in 2011's The Help, she wanted to do what she could to get his feature film debut to the big screen.
Chastain also helped her close pal, Teeth actress Jess Weixler, land a role in the film, too.
She explains, "I really believe in him and I met him because I won tickets to the Malibu Film Festival... and I saw a short film he did; I thought he was so talented.
"We became friends for four years, then we started a relationship and he'd written this film. The relationship ended, but I don't believe that love ends; I think it just kind of transforms, but never goes away, so, to be able to shine the spotlight that was on me, and say, 'Look at my friends', because also my best friend Jess Weixler plays my sister in the movie, and just to say, like, 'How incredible are these people?', it was a very emotional experience to make it."
Chastain's star power also attracted the likes of James McAvoy, Viola Davis and William Hurt to sign up for the drama, about a young couple whose marriage is rocked by a life-changing event.
A hard-hitting new film about the U.S. invasion of Panama has been picked as that country's first Oscars submission. Abner Benaim's documentary Invasion, about U.S. troops' efforts to extract General Manuel Noriega from power in 1989, features no archive footage, and relies on the memories of Panamanian citizens.
The director, who is hoping to land a Best Foreign Film nomination in January (15), has scored a series of firsts during his short filmmaking career - his movie Chance was the first Panamanian production in over 60 years and it beat James Cameron's Avatar at the domestic box office in 2009.
Invasion won both the Best Documentary Audience Award and the Mastercard Central America and Caribbean Audience Award at the Panama International Film Festival.
Rocker Damon Albarn and duo Royal Blood have emerged as the favourites for this year's (14) coveted Mercury Prize in Britain. The former Blur frontman's debut solo project, Everybody Robots, and Royal Blood's self-titled release are the joint favourites to land the best British and Irish album of the year title, according to official bookmakers at William Hill.
However, rival firm Ladbrokes have given FKA Twigs' LP1 and poet Kate Tempest's Everybody Down the edge on its odds list.
The newly-announced shortlist also features Bombay Bicycle Club (So Long, See You Tomorrow), Anna Calvi (One Breath), GoGo Penguin (v2.0), East India Youth (Total Strife Forever), Jungle (Jungle), Polar Bear (In Each and Every One), Young Fathers (Dead) and Nick Mulvey (First Mind).
The 12 acts will compete for a $34,000 (£20,000) prize, which will be announced in London on 29 October (14).
Albarn's nomination is his first since he withdrew his band Gorillaz's self-titled debut from contention in 2001, when he compared the honour to "carrying an albatross around your neck for all eternity".
Singer/songwriter James Blake took home the 2013 Mercury Prize for his album Overgrown.
United Artists via Everett Collection
German actor Gottfried John, who famously battled James Bond on the big screen, has died, aged 72.
The Goldeneye star passed away in Munich, Germany on Monday (01Sep14) after a battle with cancer. He is best remembered for playing villainous General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov in the 1995 blockbuster and going up against 007 Pierce Brosnan.
In his early career, he worked with iconic director Rainer Werner Fassbinder on several projects including 1979 movie The Marriage of Maria Braun and 1980 TV miniseries Berlin Alexanderplatz.
After his high-profile role in Goldeneye, John went on to land more Hollywood parts, including starring opposite John Malkovich in 1996's The Ogre, and in 2000 thriller Proof of Life with Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan.
Seth Rogen and James Franco's controversial new movie The Interview has been given a huge release boost - Sony studio executives have decided to launch the comedy in America on Christmas Day (25Dec14).
The film, in which Franco and Rogen play tabloid TV reporters who land an interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un only to learn they have to assassinate him, was scheduled to hit U.S. cinemas in October (14), but it will now roll out among Oscar contenders and blockbusters during one of Hollywood's most popular weeks.
The comedy will now face off against Angelina Jolie's new film Unbroken, the star-studded Into the Woods and family film Paddington at the box office.
Penelope Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem are among a host of Spanish stars who have penned an open letter denouncing Israel over the Middle East conflict.
The acting couple and director Pedro Almodovar were joined by other Spanish industry executives who are urging European Union (EU) officials to condemn Israel over the growing unrest in the region.
In the letter, published in local Spanish newspapers on Tuesday (29Jul14), they accuse Israeli leaders of presiding over a "genocide" and demand a ceasefire.
They are asking EU representatives to "condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip".
"I made the call. When I found out Tate was directing, I was like, 'You better find me something for me to do Tate. I don't care what it is, but you better find something, because I'm a big James Brown fan.' And he did, he's very loyal that way." Actress Octavia Spencer would have done anything to land a role in her director pal Tate Taylor's new James Brown biopic, Get On Up. The Help star portrays Aunt Honey in the film, opposite 42 actor Chadwick Boseman, who plays the late Godfather of Soul
A North Korean ambassador has lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations (U.N.) demanding U.S. officials ban Seth Rogen's upcoming comedy The Interview.
In the new movie, the Knocked Up actor and James Franco star as journalists who land a television interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and are recruited by America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to assassinate him.
A foreign ministry spokesperson has already condemned the film and called it a "wanton act of terror", but Rogen did not take the threats seriously and joked about it on Twitter.com in June (14).
The country's U.N. Ambassador Ja Song Nam has now written to the organisation's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, demanding he blocks the film's release. In the letter, Ja Song Nam writes, "To allow the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent head of a sovereign state should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war."
"The United States authorities should take immediate and appropriate actions to ban the production and distribution of the aforementioned film; otherwise, it will be fully responsible for encouraging and sponsoring terrorism."
The Interview is scheduled to hit cinemas in October (14).
Focus Features via Everett Collection
If a film called The Martian is looking for a director, it only makes sense to run to the man behind Alien. Ridley Scott is in talks to helm the Matt Damon film now that Drew Goddard has left the project to direct the Amazing Spider-Man spinoff Sinister Six. Based on the book by Andy Weir, the story follows an astronaut who is stranded on a Martian colony and must survive until NASA can mount a rescue mission. The Martian marks a significant turning point in Damon’s career: his first stranded-somewhere-all-by-himself movie.
A longtime staple of the thriller genre, almost every big star in Hollywood has made a film in which they must survive on their own in the wilderness, outer space or a confined space, often to great acclaim. In honor of Damon’s first foray into the genre – which, thanks to the involvement of two Oscar winners is already receiving some awards speculation, despite it still being in the early stages of production - we’ve rounded up some of the most famous stranded-alone films and how things worked out for their stars. Awards-wise, we mean. They're all relatively straightforward, plot-wise.
Movie: GravityStar: Sandra BullockWhere She Was Stranded: Outer SpaceWith: George Clooney, for a short whileHow It Worked Out: The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress and won seven of them, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron
Movie: Cast Away Star: Tom HanksWhere He Was Stranded: A deserted islandWith: A volleyball named WilsonHow It Worked Out: Hanks was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar
Movie: BuriedStar: Ryan ReynoldsWhere He Was Stranded: Buried alive in a coffin that's slowly losing airWith: Close-upsHow It Worked Out: No Oscar nominations, although it did earn Reynolds some of the best reviews of his career
Movie: 127 HoursStar: James FrancoWhere He Was Stranded: In a narrow canyon, with his arm trapped by a boulderWith: A video cameraHow It Worked Out: It was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and was the basis for an endless stream of jokes about Franco's career
Movie: MoonStar: Sam RockwellWhere He Was Stranded: In a spacecraft orbiting the moonWith: An awkward teenaged water park visitor who just needs some confidence... oh, wait, that was a different movieHow It Worked Out: Was nominated for two BAFTA awards, and won for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for director Duncan Jones
Movie: Panic RoomStars: Jodie FosterWhere They Were Stranded: A panic room in their home as robbers attempt to force them outWith: Her diabetic daughter Kristen StewartHow It Worked Out: No major awards, but it did get very good reviews
Movie: Man on a LedgeStar: Sam WorthingtonWhere He Was Stranded: On the window ledge of a 21st floor hotel roomWith: A lot of press attentionHow It Worked Out: It got mostly negative reviews and everyone promptly forgot about it
Movie: Phone BoothStar: Colin FarrellWhere He Was Stranded: In a phone boothWith: A remarkably poor conversationalist on the other lineHow It Worked Out: No awards, but generally positive reviews
Movie: Life of PiStar: Suraj SharmaWhere He Was Stranded: On a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean With: A tiger named Richard ParkerHow It Worked Out: The film was nominated for 11 Oscars and won 4, including Best Director for Ang Lee
Movie: Snow DogsStar: Cuba Gooding Jr.Where He Was Stranded: In a cave out in the Arctic With: A pack of lovable huskiesHow It Worked Out: The less said about this one, the better
Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh has signed on to write the screenplay for the Spring Breakers sequel. Director Harmony Korine's racy 2013 movie, starring James Franco as a violent drug dealer, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, was a critically-acclaimed hit and now movie executives at production company Wild Bunch are hoping to land a deal for Spring Breakers: The Second Coming at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival in France.
Welsh is on board to write the script, while music video ace Jonas Akerlund will direct the sequel.
Akerlund is best known for directing edgy promos for Lady Gaga and British band The Prodigy.