Actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens' Broadway dreams have been realised - she has been cast as the lead in a new production of beloved musical Gigi.
The High School Musical star will play the title role in the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe production, which will be directed by Eric Schaeffer, the man behind Follies and Million Dollar Quartet. Gigi has previously been played onstage by Audrey Hepburn, and French actress Leslie Caron portrayed the character in Vincente Minnelli's Oscar-winning 1958 film.
British playwright and BAFTA-winning screenwriter Heidi Thomas will revamp the story for the new production, which will open at the Eisenhower Theater at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. from 16 January to 12 February (15) before its big New York debut.
Hudgens, who played the role of Gigi in recent readings in New York, says, "I started performing in musicals from a young age, and it has always been my dream to be on Broadway. I cannot wait to get back on stage, singing and dancing these songs and living in Gigi's glamorous world." She adds, "I think it's (musical theatre) the true test. There are no second takes. You've got to bring everything you've got for the most critical of audiences. It's an honour, if anything. I'm over the moon."
Gigi was originally brought to life on the Broadway stage by Days of Our Lives actress Karin Wolfe in 1973, but that production only ran for 103 performances.
The original novel was turned into a 1951 play, starring Hepburn.
British royal Lord Frederick Windsor and his actress wife Sophie Winkleman hosted a private Christening at a London palace for their daughter on Monday (16Dec13). The couple welcomed baby Maud Elizabeth Daphne Marina Windsor, who is 42nd in line to the throne, in Los Angeles in August (13), and she was baptised in a ceremony at St James's Palace's Chapel Royal.
The event took place at the same venue where the baby's third cousin, once removed, Prince George of Cambridge, was Christened in October (13).
Maude also wore the same royal Christening gown as her famous cousin.
Marginalized communities throughout history have had ways of communicating that are proof of clanship. But did you know the street slang used by queens the world over is at least two centuries old, and that you already know a few words of it?
There is disagreement about the exact origins of the gay ghetto slang known as Polari, but it rose in popularity during the 19th century in London's East End, and shares words with other street vernaculars like Cockney rhyming slang and Yiddsh. The language was common in professions that employed traveling male tradesmen, like the merchant marines and the theater. Gay men adopted it as a way to have sexual conversations safely and in secret.
If you feel ignorant, don't. You're already speaking Polari when you use words like butch, camp, and drag — and if you're paying attention, chicken, cottaging and zhoosh. Theater slang that is part of the lexicon, such as referring to dancers as "hoofers," also comes from Polari.
But if you hear someone say, "Vada the eek on that naff omi-palone," ask your local queen for a translation. And pray they aren't talking about you.
Author Frederick Forsyth has helped a neighbour land the gig of a lifetime after writing to rugby officials and urging them to consider booking her to sing the New Zealand national anthem at Saturday's (16Nov13) big international clash in England. The Day of the Jackal novelist fell in love with choir mistress Melissa Alder's voice during a concert in the Buckinghamshire, England village where they both live, and decided to give her a big career boost.
He wrote to officials who were preparing for the game between England and the All Blacks of New Zealand at Twickenham near London, and suggested Alder would be a great addition to the pre-game festivities.
The sports bosses decided to give the 38 year old a listen - and they liked what they heard, and booked her.
She tells The Daily Mail, "I’m absolutely thrilled and can’t thank Freddie enough. I’ve waited all my life for a big break."
Alder isn't new to the big stage - she sings in the chorus at London's Royal Opera House.
A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Details about dress designs for the bride-to-be have been a closely-guarded secret ever since the couple announced its engagement last year (10), but, on the eve of the big day, it has emerged the Brit has been selected to create gowns for the bridal party.
Middleton's sister Pippa will lead four other bridesmaids down the aisle at Westminster Abbey in custom-made Macfarlane outfits.
However, the bride-to-be has continued to keep fashion watchers guessing about whose creation she will wear when she exchanges vows with Prince William.
British designer Sophie Cranston's fashion house Libelula dismissed speculation the company had been commissioned to create Middleton's wedding dress, while Bruce Oldfield and Sarah Buxton, the creative director of late fashion king Alexander McQueen's label, have also been linked to the royal gown, which was designed and created at Buckingham Palace under royal watch.
Meanwhile, Alberta Ferretti has designed a dress for Prince Harry's girlfriend Chelsea Davy and Armani fashion chiefs have created a gown for Lady Frederick Windsor.
While we know that Jim Carrey can kill it in dramatic roles (see: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), the man made his name as one of the greatest physical comedians of our time (see: The Mask). So I was thrilled to hear that Carrey is going to be exercising his peculiar comedic sensibilities once again with direction from one Larry Charles, director extraordinaire of Borat, Bruno, and several of the better episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage, for which he also wrote.
Carrey will headline Pierre Pierre as a "self-indulgent, lazy, French nihilist who is transporting a stolen Mona Lisa from Paris to London," who along the way "comes to love his home country again."
In 2008, the movie's screenplay ranked 11th on Hollywood's famed 'Black List', which ranks scripts based on an annual poll of around 150 development executives and other high-level assistants. Fox Searchlight paid around a million dollars upfront for the screenplay, from newcomers Edwin Cannistraci and Frederick Setoff.
Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) was originally attached to direct, but the project fell to Charles when Reitman dropped out. Now, Escape Artists' Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, and Steve Tisch, as well as Category 5's Brian Sher, are producing the flick with a planned $20 million budget.
It sounds like a winning combination of talents to me. Carrey is just the kind of comedic actor to make this movie work: his ability to take an otherwise ordinary scene and make it somehow iconic (see video below!) puts him in a class all by himself. Well, except perhaps Sacha Baron Cohen, whom Larry Charles last worked with on Borat and Bruno. Hopefully the director will find a way to build Pierre Pierre around Carrey's strengths the same way he did for Cohen.
Keira Knightley is in talks to play Eliza Doolittle in a feature update of the classic musical My Fair Lady. The film is set to be produced by Duncan Kenworthy, who worked with Knightley on 2003’s Love Actually. London theater bigwig Cameron Mackintosh, who has produced two stage revivals of My Fair Lady, is also a producer.
Variety says that although the film is being called an update, it will use the original Lerner & Loewe score and retain its 1912 setting. Elements of the original play, George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion--upon which the 1956 musical was based--will be incorporated to dramatize the emotional highs and lows of Doolittle as she evolves from Covent Garden flower girl to high street lady under the tutelage of Professor Henry Higgins. Alan Jay Lerner's book of the Broadway musical will serve as the primary basis for the adaptation.
My Fair Lady, with book and lyrics by Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, was first staged in 1956 with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. Audrey Hepburn and Harrison starred in the Oscar-winning George Cukor-directed film in 1964.
The producers intend to shoot the film on location in the original London settings of Covent Garden, Drury Lane, Tottenham Court Road, Wimpole Street and the Ascot racecourse, notes Variety.
Kenworthy told Variety, "With 40 years of hindsight, we're confident that by setting these wonderful characters and brilliant songs in a more realistic context, and by exploring Eliza's emotional journey more fully, we will honor both Shaw and Lerner at the same time as engaging and entertaining contemporary audiences the world over."
In the original film, Higgins comes across Doolittle during a night out at the theater. Her ear-bending accent offends his linguistic sensibilities and, on a bet, he ultimately takes her in promising to teach her ‘proper’ English and manners saying she will be able to pass off as a lady at a ball by the time he’s done. Doolittle struggles with the grueling lessons and the pair bicker endlessly. But in the end, she ultimately shines and finds a true bond with Higgins--in a love-hate sort of way.
The musical spawned such timeless songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Get Me to the Church on Time” and “The Rain in Spain.” In the original film, Hepburn’s singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon.
Actor Jim Carrey has joined the $13 million comedy Pierre Pierre. The film is a politically incorrect story about a self-indulgent French nihilist who moves a stolen painting from Paris to London.
Jason Reitman, the Oscar-nominated director of 2007’s breakout hit Juno, is attached to direct, according to trade papers Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
The script for Pierre Pierre, written by Edwin Cannistraci and Frederick Seton, set off a bidding war in Hollywood before being purchased by Twentieth Century Fox specialty division Fox Atomic for $1 million.
Carrey, who is currently shooting A Christmas Carol for director Robert Zemeckis, will next appear--by voice only--in the animated version of Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!. The film also features the voices of Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, Dane Cook and Isla Fisher, among others.
After that, he’ll star in Yes Man, from The Break-Up director Peyton Reed. In the film, Carrey plays a man who has challenged himself to say yes to everything for a year. Zooey Deschanel, Danny Masterson and Terence Stamp also star.
As for Reitman, he will next produce the cheerleader-from-hell comedy-thriller Jennifer's Body, which Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) is directing. The script for Jennifer’s Body was written by Juno’s Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody.