Before The Butler has even had the chance to properly enter the Oscar race, Forest Whitaker has signed on to star in yet another film set in the heart of D.C.. He's set to play Colin Powell in an upcoming film about the former Secretary of State — titled Powell, of course — which will take place in the run-up to the War in Iraq, and focus on the famous speech that Powell made to the U.N. suggesting the presence of weapons of mass destruction and advocating for the war. According to screenwriter Ed Whitworth, Powell will be a tragedy where the main character "ended up doing this thing that he now seemingly regrets and was clearly a huge mistake."
Biopics are somewhat of Whitaker's speciality: in addition to The Butler, he won an Oscar for 2006's The Last King of Scotland, where he played Idi Amin, and has been tapped to play Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Paul Greengrass' upcoming film Memphis, although the project has been stuck in development for some time. He even produced this summer's Fruitvale Station, which starred Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant, a young man who was shot and killed in an act of police brutality in 2009. And since there's very little that the Academy loves more than a moving biopic, it's safe to say that Whitaker should probably start getting a speech ready.
Whitaker's history of biopics also makes him a perfect match for Whitworth, whose next big project, Reykjavik, will center around the 1986 disarmament talks between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev — in this film, Michael Douglas is set to play Reagan and Christoph Waltz is taking a break from playing gleeful German psychopaths to play Gorbachev. After that, Whitworth will start work on a film about the Arab Spring and an MI6 thriller starring Colin Firth — looks like he should think about getting started on his own acceptance speech.
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Hollywood actress Sharon Stone will join British musician Yusuf Islam and a cast of young singers on stage at a special charity event in Switzerland later this year (13). The Basic Instinct star will serve as a narrator in the original musical, which will be staged in Geneva in honour of Green Cross International, an environmental organisation set up by former head of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.
Islam, formally known as Cat Stevens, will also take part in 2050: The Future We Want along with 40 young people and a 100-strong choir.
The show will take place on 3 September (13).
Jazz musician Dave Brubeck, perhaps best known for his hit "Take Five", died on Wednesday morning at the age of 91, the Associated Press reports. Brubeck passed away from heart failure, just days before what would have been his 92nd birthday. He leaves behind his wife Lola Brubeck and their children. (He had one daughter and five sons.)
The Grammy-nominated pianist had an illustrious career that spanned decades. He formed The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951, which released five top ten albums, including the classic 1959 album done in 5/4 time, Time Out. The record featured the hit "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and was the first jazz LP to sell a million copies.
Among his many accolades, Brubeck (who, before becoming a legendary musician, served under General George S. Patton in Europe) received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy in 1996 and in 2009 he was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
Brubeck's influence was not only felt in the jazz world. Brubeck, who appeared in Ken Burns' Jazz miniseries, also wrote music for ballets, operas, and the late 80s television special This is America, Charlie Brown. He once performed for a dinner held by Ronald Reagan in 1988 in Moscow, which was attended by Mikhail Gorbachev. Brubeck said of the experience, "I can't understand Russian, but I can understand body language."
In a statement to Grammy.com regarding Brubeck (who they call "one of the most significant acts of the West Coast jazz movement") Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow said, "David Brubeck was an iconic jazz and classical pianist. His recordings have received both commercial and critical success, and will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come. We have lost a great legend in our community, and our thoughts and condolences go to his family, friends and all those he inspired."
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Waltz will portray the Communist statesman in Mike Newell's new picture about a 1986 meeting between Gorbachev and former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, which is credited as sparking the end of the Cold War.
Michael Douglas has already signed on to play Reagan, according to Deadline.com.
Filming is due to begin in Iceland in March (13).
Foreign policy expert Ken Adelman, who helped negotiate the peace deal, will add an element of authenticity by serving as an executive producer.
The Wall Street star is in talks to play the late Republican in indie movie Reykjavik, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mike Newell is in negotiations to direct the film about Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's 1986 peace summit meeting in Iceland, and Ridley Scott is onboard to produce the project.
If the actor signs up for the film, it won't be Douglas' first presidential role - he played fictitious U.S. leader Andrew Shepherd in 1995's The American President.
It also isn't the first time Reagan has been portrayed onscreen by a Hollywood star - James Brolin played the actor-turned-politician in TV movie The Reagans, Richard Crenna took on the role in 2001's The Day Reagan Was Shot and Alan Rickman will play the late president in Lee Daniels' new film The Butler.
Douglas is currently portraying late pianist Liberace in Steven Soderbergh's biopic.
At 73, Ridley Scott is still one of the most active filmmakers in showbiz. The Oscar-nominated auteur is currently shooting Prometheus, his highly anticipated return to science fiction, and is a producer on Park Chan-wook's Stoker and Joe Carnahan's The Grey, but has dozens of developing projects to choose from once he's cleared his calendar a bit. Among them are the oft-laughed-about Monopoly adaptation, sure-to-be-sci-fi-staple Brave New World, a chronicle of the Gucci family and brand and the John Logan-scripted vampire film The Passage, but today's he's added on yet another: a Cold War drama called Reykjavik.
Written by Kevin Hood, the film is about the meeting between US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid-1980s which helped bring about the end of the Cold War. There aren't any other details on the project at this time, other than the fact that Participant Media (Fair Game, The Informant!) will develop and likely produce with Headline Pictures.
Though it's not exactly light material, I'd like to see Scott return to more grounded fare, as his last directorial effort - the period adventure Robin Hood - was a massive misfire. I'm not saying that's what Prometheus will turn out to be, but one can't deny that the filmmaker's best work in recent years has been the exact opposite of these movies: character-driven narratives that explore humanity, morals and psychology in entertaining ways. Matchstick Men, A Good Year, American Gangster...these are the kinds of films I'd like to see him take on in the future, with the occasional Prometheus thrown in the mix for good measure.
The beauty was among star guests at a function at the city's Royal Albert Hall, held to celebrate former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's 80th birthday.
But she was left red-faced when shots of her posing on the red carpet showed the top of her black lace dress had fallen slightly, showing off her right nipple.
The Resident Evil star appeared not to be too bothered about the embarrassing gaffe, and later took to her Twitter.com blog to write, "What a beautiful night it was!"
Other guests at the event, which raised money for various charities including childhood cancer charity The Raisa Foundation, included Kevin Spacey, Bryan Ferry, and Shirley Bassey.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner held a charity gala at the city's Royal Albert Hall and stars including Kevin Spacey, Goldie Hawn, Shirley Bassey and Katherine Jenkins flooded to the glitzy bash to celebrate the former leader's big night.
Stone and Spacey hosted the entertainment, while Bassey, Jenkins, Bryan Ferry and former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm were among the singers performing on stage.
Millions of dollars were raised for a number of charities, including The Raisa Foundation, which is named in honour of Gorbachev's late wife, who died in 1999.
Gorbachev turned 80 on 2 March (11).
The Usual Suspects star offered an afternoon of his company to raise funds at the star-studded event, held in memory of former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev's late wife Raisa, who died of leukaemia in 1999.
Stars including Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott and Joely Richardson were among those invited to place bids at the gala at the British capital's Hampton Court Palace.
Diamonds, luxury holidays, artwork by Jeff Koons and a Francis Bacon triptych also went under the hammer, with proceeds going to the Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation.
The Foundation's founder, Evgeny Lebedev, says, "Mikhail Gorbachev and I were so moved by the generosity of our guests who helped us to raise this astounding figure. This will go a long way to help lessen the suffering of so many children and their families - as was Raisa Gorbachev's aim."
Director Ridley Scott is making a new movie about late President Ronald Reagan's dealings with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The as-yet-untitled film will reportedly focus on the pair's famous 1986 summit conference that took place in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Scott tells the Hollywood Reporter, "I want to show who they were and why they did what they did.
"Their actions helped shape history, paving the way for the end of the Cold War."
And although the American Gangster director has yet to begin casting, he insists "physical resemblance is secondary."
He adds, "It's less about visible appearance, more about the acting. (But) you have to acknowledge the physicality. Reagan was tall and elegant while Gorbachev was stocky, like a front-row rugby player. In some ways, Gorbachev is easier to cast. Reagan is more colorful."
Reagan, the 40th American president, died in 2004 following a decade-long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
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