Hollywood is mourning the death of English film director, screenwriter, and actor, Bryan Forbes. Forbes, who helmed The Stepford Wives in 1975, passed away Wednesday, May 8, at his home on Surrey, England. Forbes had been battling an illness prior to his passing. He was 86 at the time of his death.
Forbes has a long resume for his work in the film industry. Besides directing The Stepford Wives, he also co-wrote the screenplay for Chaplin — the biopic about Charlie Chaplin's life, starring Robert Downey Jr. Forbes earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing The Angry Silence (1960), featuring Richard Attenborough.
Forbes made his film debut as a director in 1961 with Whistle Down the Wind starring Alan Bates and Haley Mills. He also directed King Rat, The Wrong Box, International Velvet, and Long Ago Tomorrow.
But prior to writing and directing, Forbes started out his career as an actor. He appeared British films including An Inspector Calls and The Colditz Story in the 1950s. After that, he formed a production company with his buddy Attenborough.
In addition to his work in the film industry, Forbes was also a published novelist. He penned several books including The Soldier's Story, which was published last year.
In 2004, Forbes was a Commander of Order of the British Empire for his contributions to the arts. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
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The world has lost a musical wonder. Ravi Shankar, sitar master and composer, was admitted to a San Diego hospital last week after complaining of shortness of breath and then passed away on Tuesday, Variety reports. He was 92 years old at the time of his death.
Shankar, best known as the "Godfather of World Music" after The Beatles' George Harrison gave him the nickname, was a great composer of film scores, including Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy. In 1983, he won an Oscar for best original score for Richard Attenborough's Gandhi along with George Fenton.
Shankar may have departed this world, but his legacy lives on, especially through the musical talents of his children, Grammy-award winning singer Norah Jones and Grammy-nominated sitar player Anoushka Shankar.
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Gus Van Sant, the eclectic director of such films as To Die For and Finding Forrester, will reteam with his Good Will Hunting stars Matt Damon and Casey Affleck (yes, Ben's little brother) for a new film, Jerry. According to the buzz at Cannes, the film is being kept closely under wraps, so there's not much known on the subject matter. Could be about a mouse or a TV evangelist or maybe a raunchy TV talk show host. What is known is that the project is being put together by the William Morris Agency Independent department, with co-heads Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson negotiating the deal.
Big brother Ben
Casey's big bro Ben Affleck, after battling the Japanese in the upcoming Pearl Harbor, is set to star in director Martin Brest's Gigli. Brest, who has taken a three-year hiatus since his last film, Meet Joe Black, will direct from his own script about a down-and-out hit man (Affleck) who kidnaps the mentally challenged brother of a powerful district attorney. While waiting for ransom demands, he hooks up with a free-spirited female partner, whom he assumes is a hit woman. You can't say it doesn't sound original. This marks the first time Brest has directed from his own script in 20 years, the last being 1979's Going in Style starring George Burns. And let's hope this one is more memorable.
Bakula will explore new worlds
Quantum Leap star Scott Bakula is taking another strange journey into the unknown as he has signed on to play Capt. Jonathan Archer (in company with other great names such as James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard) on Enterprise, the fifth Star Trek series. Paramount Network Television described the character of Archer to The Associated Press as a "physical and intensely curious captain" who maintains a sense of duty. He also is "a bit of a renegade and is not afraid to question orders or even disobey them if he feels in his gut that he is right." Ah, just the kind of starship captain we need.
Booked on the love "Boat"
Sometimes it pays to take your clothes off. Former Playboy playmate of the year Victoria Silvstedt and actress Vivica A. Fox (Kingdom Come) are joining the cast of the indie feature Boat Trip, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Horatio Sanz. Story centers on two men (Gooding and Sanz) who set out on a Caribbean cruise to find love and romance only to realize they are on a gay cruise. Oh no! Fox will play Gooding's fiancée and Silvstedt plays Inga, the head of a Swedish swim team. Who magically appears on the gay cruise to the Caribbean? Production starts at the end of the month in Germany.
Director Terrence Malick is back once again. He will produce a new adaptation of author Graham Greene's novel Brighton Rock. The original 1947 film, directed by John Boulting, starred Richard Attenborough as a small-time gangster in the English seaside town of Brighton who self-destructs after murdering a rival. The strange and elusive Malick will not direct, even though he is officially out of seclusion after directing the 1998 war film The Thin Red Line. Before that, his last film was the 1978 Days of Heaven with Richard Gere and Sam Shepard. Rock is slated for a summer 2002 start date in the United Kingdom.
Cameron and Cousteau team up
Director-producer James Cameron must have a thing for undersea exploration. Remember all that footage of the doomed Titanic in his Oscar-winning film? Now he is teaming up with ocean explorer-environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the legendary Jacques Cousteau, to produce a series of undersea exploration specials for ABC. Ironically, the first installment will be about the remains of Titanic - which is easy enough. The series seeks to use the latest technology in oceanic photography to view areas of the deep blue sea never seen or explored before. So, now we can finally see all the weird prehistoric creatures that dwell on the ocean floor.
Kasdan, Goldman do King's "Dreamcatcher"
Director Lawrence Kasdan and writer William Goldman have teamed up with Castle Rock Productions to bring Stephen King's latest novel The Dreamcatcher to life. The story revolves around four childhood friends who share a secret bond after they perform a heroic act. Years later, as they have drifted apart, they must reunite to save the Earth from a mysterious force. Sounds a little like a conglomeration of several King stories, including Stand By Me and It. But with the talent of Kasdan and Goldman, plus the Castle Rock contingency, who've produced probably the best King adaptations such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Misery, this film has every chance to be another winner. Now, let's see whom they cast.
Kudrow looking for "Scouts"
Friends funny lady Lisa Kudrow will produce and star in the dark comedy indie Intense Girl Scouts, about a woman who leads an unofficial Girl Scout troop into doing out-of-the-norm good deeds. Yet, when some of those deeds go awry, she is ostracized and ends up becoming involved in questionable activities with her creepy neighbor-ultimately leading to murder. If anyone could pull this off, it'd be Kudrow, who showed some excellent acting chops in another independent gem The Opposite of Sex. Unfortunately, her bigger features, such as Hanging Up and Lucky Numbers, didn't fare as well. Might be the wisest for her to stick to the little guys.
P.Diddy: "I can act!"
Sure he can. Why not? Mr. bad-boy rapper Sean "P.Diddy or Puffy" Combs has done just about everything else. Having narrowly escaped prison life for real, Combs has decided to play a prisoner in the independent feature Monster's Ball, costarring with Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger, Halle Berry and Peter Boyle. The story is about a father and son (Thornton and Ledger) who work at a prison's electric chair facility. Combs will play a death row inmate who is put to death on the electric chair. Thornton's character, a racist, later falls in love with the widow, played by Berry. Combs also will appear in Jon Favreau's movie Made, out this July.
Bell calls "Who Goes There?"
Jamie Bell, of Billy Elliot, is set to star in a World War II drama Who Goes There?, based on the true story of a German U-boat that landed its crew in a Welsh village. Bell will play a boy who befriends a German soldier only to find out his friend is not really such a nice guy. Well, that's a surprise. It will be interesting to see whether the young lad is as good as he was in Billy Elliot. But no pressure, Jamie.
Steven Spielberg reportedly has won the race to bring Harry Potter to the big screen.
The Times of London says Spielberg will direct and produce "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," based on the hit children's book series about a schoolboy wizard.
Robert Zemeckis, Jonathan Demme and Mike Newell were among the directors Spielberg beat out for the movie, according to the paper.
Warner Bros., which owns the Harry Potter screen rights, dictated that Spielberg must make the film his next movie. Spielberg, whose docket also includes an adaptation of the best seller "Memoirs of a Geisha," had two possibles in the works: "A.I." and "Minority Report," both produced by his own studio, DreamWorks. "A.I" (the acronym for artificial intelligence) is based on a story outline by late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. "Minority Report" is a possible project for megastar Tom Cruise.
As for "Harry Potter," the Times says the search is now on for a British child to play the title role, although Spielberg reportedly might be considering a computer-animated version of the story.
NEXT "SENSE": "Sixth Sense" writer/director M. Night Shyamalan has settled on his follow-up project: "Unbreakable."
The suspense drama is set to star the prolific Julianne Moore. "Sense" alum Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are also attached.
According to Daily Variety, Moore will play the wife of a man (Willis) who begins to experience strange and unusual things after surviving an accident.
THORNTON "SHIPPING" OUT: "The Shipping News" for Billy Bob Thornton isn't good.
The actor-filmmaker has dropped out of the Columbia Pictures film and might opt instead for Universal/Miramax's "Cinderella Man." He will most likely direct the latter film -- probably with Ben Affleck as the lead.
John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston previously departed "The Shipping News," a romantic drama.
LIVIN' ON A PRAYER: Erstwhile hair-band rocker Jon Bon Jovi gets his rocks off as the latest co-star in Bel Air Entertainment's "Pay It Forward."
Daily Variety reports that Bon Jovi will co-star alongside acting heavyweights Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and "The Sixth Sense's" Haley Joel Osment. The pic, about a young boy's attempt at world peace via random acts of kindness, is being directed by "Deep Impact's" Mimi Leder and co-financed and distributed by Warner Bros.
IN KEY: Hollywood director-in-exile Roman Polanski hopes to return to his Polish homeland after acquiring the rights to "The Piano," an autobiographical book about a musician's survival in Poland during World War II. Polanski told Daily Variety that he plans to start shooting the $20 million feature in December. The story, detailing Wladyslaw Szpilman's experiences in Warsaw from 1939 through 1945, is said to be reminiscent of Polanski's own turbulent coming-of-age in war-ravaged Krakow.
GANDHI MEETS THE POPE: If he's good enough to play Gandhi, why not Pope John Paul II?
That's the thinking of an Italian broadcaster who announced Friday that it's planning a TV biopic about the pontiff to star Oscar-winning "Gandhi" star Ben Kingsley.
"Gandhi" director (and fellow Oscar winner) Richard Attenborough is being considered for a role, as well. Reuters reports that talks are under way with both actors about the project, which is in the planning stage and has not yet received official approval from the Vatican.