Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams are set to reprise their stage roles in the TV movie adaptation of The Trip To Bountiful. The actresses starred in the Broadway play when it ran from April to October (13), and now they'll be joined by Blair Underwood and Keke Palmer in the movie version of the drama.
Michael Wilson, who directed the play, will make his television directorial debut with the project, according to TheWrap.com.
The play first hit the stage in 1953 and was previously adapted for the big screen in 1985. Geraldine Page won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Carrie Watts in that film.
Production has already begun in Atlanta, Georgia and the movie will air on U.S. network Lifetime in 2014.
Russell Simmons is working with Harriet Tubman's family on a film of her life, days after causing a storm of controversy by sharing a parody sex tape video about the African-American abolitionist. The Def Jam Recordings co-founder posted a comedy clip on his YouTube.com page called the Harriet Tubman Sex Tape, which features an actress as Tubman, having sex with her white 'master' as the dirty deed is taped so the activist can later bribe her boss into freeing his slaves.
Simmons faced a huge backlash after branding the footage the "funniest thing I've ever seen", and later apologised for causing offence and mocking such an important figure in African-American history.
He has now reached out to Tubman's ancestors and is planning to work on a biopic of the humanitarian's life.
Taking to Twitter.com, he writes, "The last few dayz (sic) I have been speaking to some of the direct descendants of Harriet Tubman. (Rita and Geraldine Daniels).
"They have not only accepted my apology but we agree that we should begin immediately to develop the story of Harriet Tubman.
"God works in mysterious ways. Thank you Rita and Geraldine Daniels. You and your great great grandmother are amazing inspiration. new friends."
Jane Fonda raced to cast Meryl Streep in her acclaimed 1978 movie Coming Home after the newcomer left her breathless with her performance in her film debut Julia the year before. The Mamma Mia! star had a supporting role in the 1977 Lillian Hellman biopic, opposite Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, and the On Golden Pond star still recalls the first time she saw Streep onscreen.
In a webchat with GoldDerby.com on Friday (31May13), she explains, "You wouldn't have recognised her... She had a black wig and I remember the first time I saw the rushes (review of the previous day's filming).
"It was a scene where Lillian Hellman had just opened on Broadway with her play, Little Foxes, and it was a magnificent triumph... Lillian is walking through Sardi's and the camera panned with me... and then the camera stopped and I walk off camera, and Anne Marie walks on camera and stops - and that was Meryl. What she did in just a few seconds with her face and her hand... my hair stood on end.
"I was in the process of casting Coming Home and I called my producing partner, Bruce Gilbert, and I said, 'Listen, it's a weird name, Meryl Streep, but I'm telling you not since Geraldine Page have I seen anything like this; try to get her in the part.'
"She wasn't free, she was doing a Tennessee Williams play but I feel privileged to have been present at her screen debut... It was breathtaking."
Fans of Michael Winner have been invited to pay their respects to the late British director at a special memorial next month (Jun13). The Death Wish filmmaker died at his home in Kensington, London on 21 January (13) after a long battle with liver disease, and he was laid to rest two days later (23Jan13).
His grieving widow, Geraldine, has been working on putting together an event for devotees to celebrate his life and work and she has now revealed the date and time of the gathering.
Taking to his Twitter.com page, which she took over to stay in touch with his fans, she writes, "Memorial meeting today, nearly ready, security very high, We've carried out MW's wishes. Hope nothing goes wrong. 23rd June 3pm."
Specific details about the ceremony's location have yet to be announced.
The Death Wish director passed away at the age of 77 at his home in London with his wife Geraldine at his bedside.
Theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber and Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp took to Twitter.com to pay their respects after hearing of Winner's death, and now several of his famous friends have opened up about their memories of the moviemaker.
In a statement, Cowell writes, "I'm very sad to hear about Michael passing away. He's become a very good friend over the years and someone whose company I have always really enjoyed.
"Laughter was never far away when Michael was around and he is someone who the more I got to know, the fonder I got of him. I am sure there are a lot of other people who, like me, will really miss him."
Cleese branded Winner's death "very sad" and added, "He was the dearest, kindest, funniest and most generous of friends. I shall miss him terribly."
Director Edgar Wright wrote on Twitter.com, "I never met Michael Winner but he was kind enough to sign a Sentinel poster for me as a surprise for a friend's birthday. Very sweet of him."
The cause of Winner's death has still not been made public, but he revealed last year (12) that liver specialists had given him just 18 months to live and he had considered ending his life at a euthanasia clinic.
The Death Wish director passed away at his home in London on Monday (21Jan13) with his wife Geraldine at his bedside.
Winner revealed last year (12) that liver specialists had given him just 18 months to live and he had considered ending his life at a euthanasia clinic.
In a statement on Monday, Geraldine Winner said, "Michael was a wonderful man - brilliant, funny and generous. A light has gone out in my life."
Born in London in 1935, Winner began his career as a showbiz journalist before moving to the BBC as a screenwriter and assistant director in the late 1950s. He directed several low-budget British movies in the 1960s, and his work with Oliver Reed drew the attention of Hollywood producers.
Winner's breakthrough came directing Marlon Brando in 1972 movie The Nightcomers, and in 1974 he shot his most famous film, controversial vigilante classic Death Wish, starring Charles Bronson.
His movie work thinned out in the 1980s and '90s but he continued to shoot the occasional film, with his last work behind the camera being 1998 comedy Parting Shots.
In recent years, Winner became a famed and feared restaurant critic in the U.K., known for his blunt and often scathing reviews.
Following news of his death, several fellow British stars took to Twitter.com to pay tribute to Winner. Theatre impresario Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber writes, "Dearest Mr Michael Winner. True originals come rarely in a lifetime. Madeleine and I will deeply miss you," and Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp tweets, "RIP Michael Winner... I will never forget our meetings... Loss of a great character!".
Journalist Piers Morgan adds, "Very sad to hear Michael Winner has died. Hilarious, often preposterous, always generous, highly intelligent man. And terrific writer. RIP... Favourite Winner anecdote was when he bought me a bottle of '61 Latour for dinner, and I told him it was corked. He nearly self-combusted."
The Harry Potter star played local village priest Geraldine Granger in the long-running British sitcom, but French admits she was worried audiences wouldn't be amused by such a holy lead character.
She tells BBC Radio 4, "I thought, 'How on earth do you play a central character who's so blooming good?' I thought, 'Where are the flaws? Where is the monster in this woman?' That's what I understand comedy to be."
French also reveals she would have preferred to take on the role of the vicar's dim-witted sidekick Alice, played by Emma Chambers, but show creator Richard Curtis refused.
She adds, "Alice was a very funny character from the off. But anyway, he (Curtis) wouldn't let me play it."
The show proved to be a massive hit and ran for 13 years before it came to an end in 2007. The Vicar of Dibley also attracted a huge celebrity following and featured cameo appearances from stars including Johnny Depp and Kylie Minogue.
The moviemaker, who has battled ill health in recent years, revealed this summer (12) that liver specialists have given him between 18 months and two years and he now admits the prognosis led him to look into the controversial Dignitas institution in Switzerland.
The 76 year old opened up about his research in a new interview with Britain's The Times newspaper, insisting he was put off by the amount of paperwork required to go through with assisted suicide.
He says, "I checked Dignitas on the computer and you need to go through so much. It's not a walk-in death. You don't just go in and say 'Here I am, do your worst.' You have to go through a whole series of papers and re-examinations just to die. You have to fill in forms and things and you have to fly there, go back twice...
"I think the idea that people should be able to have an assisted suicide is absolutely highly proper. Why should people elongate life when it's no good for them? People should have the right to terminate their own life. If you're dead, you're dead, so who cares? I'm very happy to snuff it. I've had enough time on earth. I'd be happy if someone gave me the plug to pull."
Winner admits his beloved wife Geraldine is the person who keeps him going, adding, "(Being married) has led me to see a side of the human spirit that I didn't believe anyone could posses. The way she's looked after me (is) incredible. It's difficult for her, but she puts a brave face on it."
The Perfect Storm star will open in the play at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois in September (12).
She'll play a fading movie star, opposite young Broadway actor Finn Wittrock, who will portray her toyboy love interest.
Nicole Kidman and James Franco were once attached to the project, when it was slated to become a straight-to-Broadway production.
The 1950s play originally featured Geraldine Page and Paul Newman, who reprised their roles in the hit 1962 movie. Irene Worth won a Tony Award for her performance in a 1970s revival.