Relativity Media via Everett Collection
The Barden Bellas are looking for new members, and their first recruit is Hailee Steinfeld. The Oscar nominee is set to join the cast of Pitch Perfect 2, although details about who she will play are still being kept under wraps. Steinfeld will perform alongside returning cast members Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, and Elizabeth Banks, who will also direct the sequel. Steinfeld is the first new cast member to sign up for Pitch Perfect 2, which is set to begin filming shortly.
Pitch Perfect 2 is somewhat of a departure for Steinfeld, who has generally stuck with dramas and action films since her breakthrough role in True Grit, although her upcoming assassin comedy Barely Lethal does seem to suggest that she is interested in exploring new genres. Pitch Perfect is a great way for her to test out her comedic chops, since playing a supporting role in an ensemble comedy will give her a chance to play off of the other actresses as well as the freedom to try out new things without the added pressure of carrying the film. She's already had some experience delivering smaller comedic moments in projects like 3 Days to Kill, so she should fit in with the other ladies of Pitch Perfect 2 well.
The sequel is also a great opportunity for her to expand her fan base and connect with a younger audience. Since True Grit, many of her films have been aimed at older, male-leaning audiences. Though she's made films like Romeo and Juliet and Ender's Game, which are targeted at teenagers, neither one was a big hit at the box office, so Pitch Perfect 2 will allow her to reach a much larger audience than she might have been able to in some of her other films. Recently, Steinfeld has had a run of playing the daughter in big action films fronted by older actors, and so a film starring other young women gives her a chance to explore different storylines and scenarios that may allow her to connect with a younger audience than the ones that generally go to see Kevin Costner blockbusters.
Since the first Pitch Perfect was a surprise hit, it seems incredibly likely that the highly-anticipated sequel will do well at the box office too. That's a good sign for Steinfeld, whose recent films have struggled to make big numbers. Though she's not struggling to get good roles, a hit film might open up the opportunity for her to play more leading roles, or explore a wider range of genres.
However, what Steinfeld really needs more than a hit film is a good film, one that reminds everyone just how talented she is. Many of her subsequent projects haven't been as well-received as True Grit, which might explain why she has been stuck playing so many daughters and best friends. Her performance in the Coen Brothers Western proved that she has enough talent and screen presence to carry a film of her own, but after making so many mediocre films, many moviegoers have probably forgotten just how good she is. And while all Pitch Perfect 2 seems set to make a lot of money, it's also probably not the good movie that Steinfeld needs.
Pitch Perfect is a fun, entertaining film, but it's not a particularly well-written one, to say nothing of the issues that come with the numerous jokes about characters' weight and sexual identity. Even if Steinfeld’s role is the film’s breakout character, it’s not the kind of film that would lead to roles in more quality films the way that something like Bridesmaids or The Heat did for its stars. With so many similar characters filling up her filmography, Steinfeld needs another complex, attention-grabbing or interesting character to remind filmmakers what she is capable of before she starts to become typecast. She seems to be taking steps towards preventing that now, by experimenting with different genres, but what she really needs is quality film with a compelling character to showcase her talent, the way she was able to with Mattie in True Grit.
Steinfeld is likely being considered for the same kind of roles as actresses like Chloe Grace Moretz, Shailene Woodley and Jennifer Lawrence, but though they have followed up their breakthrough roles with other attention-grabbing performances and star turns, Steinfeld has been stuck playing primarily supporting parts, which limits her range and opportunities. While Pitch Perfect 2 is a great chance for her to show a different side of herself, it might not be the film she needs to get out of the daughter/sister/supporting character rut that she’s been in for some time now.
Carnival Cruise Lines, you've really got to get your s**t together. That's probably a poor choice of words, but come on.
Late Thursday, Carnival announced that their ship the Legend had to cut short its seven-day voyage. Somewhere off the coast of Honduras, the ship suffered a technical problem that made it unable to sail at optimal speed, ABC News reports. The issue forced the ship to skip its final port in Grand Cayman and return to Tampa Bay, Fla.
And this just a day after the Carnival Dream had a mechanical problem with its backup generator, stranding passengers in St. Maarten. According to CNN, over 4,000 passengers will be flown back to Florida. Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen tells ABC News, "Since it is unclear when the Carnival Dream will be departing St. Maarten."
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He adds, "Guests have the option to return to Orlando — the closest air gateway to Port Canaveral, where the voyage began — or their originating city … Guests began disembarking the ship [Thursday] morning to board flights scheduled for today, and will continue to do so throughout the weekend. We are working to try to accommodate special requests from guests, including those who asked to remain on board longer."
And that just days after the Carnival Elation pooped out on its voyage from New Orleans. While Carnival says the ship's passengers were not affected by the problem — food service and facilites services were uninterrupted — a minor issue with the units used to steer and propel the ship did prompt a tugboat escort.
And who can forget the infamous s**t ship, the Carnival Triumph, which lost power and was stuck in the middle of nowhere for five days?
If I were a Carnival Cruise Lines passenger, I'd start looking into whether their free cruise vouchers are cash-redeemable. I mean, come on, the company is one exploded tire away from following in the footsteps of the Fung Wah bus (RIP).
Follow Abbey On Twitter @AbbeyStone
[Photo Credit: Gerald Herbert/AP Photo]
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Even in the wake of Life of Pi's four Oscar wins — including Best Director for Ang Lee — and its resultant spiked attraction to moviegoers, any conversation about the fantastical picture is likely to steer toward the buzzing video effects protests ensnaring the film industry. "It's a very tough business," Lee said of the VFX industry on Monday, during a presentation highlighting the special features and deleted scenes of the Life of Pi Blu-ray, which releases on Mar. 12. "Because it's so expensive."
With the VFX company Rhythm and Hues (which worked on Life of Pi) declaring bankruptcy and dismissing over 250 employees without severence, discussions have emerged about the complicated relationship between the effects industry and their studio employers — an issue that Lee and his frequent collaborator, editor Tim Squyres, acknolwedged at the presentation.
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"This is a business that is very hard to make money," Lee said. "In post-production … everyone is getting down on them." The director added, "The research and development fee is so high. You don’t see many survive. It’s a very tough business."
"I’m not a business person," Squyres said, "but if a company like Rhythm and Hues, who can do work like [we see in Life of Pi], can’t make their cash flow situation work, there’s something really wrong with the business plan. I don’t mean Rhythm and Hues’ business plan, I mean the whole industry. The way that the studios interact with visual effects."
Forces like compositor Phillip Broste have pointed blame pointed blame toward spotlit figures like Lee for devaluing the work of the men and women in the community, with Broste specifically highlighting Lee's admission that he wished VFX was "cheaper" in an open letter posted to Facebook on Feb. 25.
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Still, Lee expressed an appreciation for the work of the VFX community, calling the lot "artists" who are often charged with projects beneath their potential. "Normally, they don’t get to do art. I think they’re artists, but they do blow ups and action movies, basically. And I want to do visual art with them instead of visual effects. So they’re very happy about that, and go way out to make things happen." Lee continued: "I only did this twice — Hulk and [Life Of Pi]. Both [times], I wanted to do artistic work with them. And they [were willing] to drop everything to work on this kind of thing."
But are this veneration of the community's work ethic, and impressive, award-winning projects like Life of Pi — which Squyres credits as "help[ing] to show that audiences really appreciate when that is done well" — enough to bring the video effects industry out of turmoil?
"I don’t have a solution to propose, but it’s very tough for any visual effects company," Squyres said. "I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with how interactions work between the studios and the visual effects companies. And I hope they get it fixed, because we really need these guys. The amount of work and love they put into this was astounding. I hope the business can sort itself out in such a way that we can keep doing this kind of work."
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.
[Photo Credit: Diane Bondareff/Invision for Fox Home Entertainment]
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The British-Irish actor has already won numerous prizes for his star turn in Steven Spielberg's historical drama Lincoln, and is among the front-runners for the coveted Best Actor Oscar at the upcoming Academy Awards.
Day-Lewis has now revealed he doesn't let big pay cheques sway his decision when he is choosing his projects, and insists money is never an important factor for him when he is considering jobs.
He says, "I've been offered a lot of things over the years. But the sad truth is that I can't really be tempted by money. Money just doesn't do it for me.
"I'm sure I could be tempted by other things and corrupted in other ways but not by cold hard cash. In fact nothing does it for me that's going to steer me away from what I feel the need to do in my work.
"It's always been a very strong impulse and long ago I made a bargain with myself that I'd always follow my heart and that impulse."
It happened. You did it. You've finally won an Emmy. And as the camera pans to your face, awe-stricken as you stand from your auditorium seat and manage your way to the stage, trembling all the while, many a thought zooms through your head: "Now's my time," you say to yourself. "Now's my time to pour out all the thoughts I've been bottling up since I first decided to get into show business as a way of sticking it to everyone I went to high school with. Now's my time of gushing sentimentally on the support of my grandparents, and preaching emphatically on whatever international crisis everybody seems to be ignoring. Now's my time to say everything I've always wanted to say!" Well, no. It's not. You can't do that.
Correction: you can do that (until they yank you off the stage with the musical interlude version of a hook-cane). But you shouldn't. It makes for bad television. See, there are very specific components that go into a halfway decent Emmy's speech. You need a bit of humor. You need a bit of schmaltz. And if the mood strikes, a political maxim can find its way into your delivery. And no need to worry if you don't actually have any genuine thoughts of your own to make up a speech — there are enough scattered pieces out there to comprise a whole new sermon with which to address your esteemed small screen peers. Individual great moments that, together, with their distinct styles and sensibilities, might just form the greatest Emmy acceptance speech of all time.
You've got to start off with something humble. An introduction that will assure the audience that you haven't quite let this glory go to your head just yet (even though you most certainly will have... it's an Emmy! The popular clique was wrong about you!). Something along the lines of Robert Guillaume's 1985 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy series win for Benson.
"I'd like to thank Bill Cosby for not being here."
After a spirited laugh from the audience (what are they gonna do, not crack up obligatorily?), you can move on to something a bit more grounded. A meaningful tribute to the parents that encouraged you to follow your dreams — but don't use the humor just yet! A 2008 Tina Fey, after having just snagged the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Award for 30 Rock, balanced the funny with the moving in her expression of gratitude to her mother and father.
"I want to thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done."
Following this, you're going to have to drive down the mood a bit. Not too heavy yet, just a bit sweeter and more sincere. A good focal point for this kind of ambiance would be a significant other — it works especially well if you're romantic life has been the subject of many a headline, so try and strive for that. Oprah Winfrey mastered the feat with her Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech in 1998 (yes, yes, this was a Daytime Emmy Award... but come on. It's Oprah!), when the icon poured her heart out to longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham.
"You're the sweetest man. With the greatest integrity. Thank you for helping to be everything I am, and all that is to come."
Then comes the real power of the speech. Your opportunity to shock and awe with a bombastic statement about the world and its follies, a challenge to the human race to be better. You're an Emmy winner now. You're the right person to point out the problems with society. And the great Sally Field — who corners the market on acceptance speeches of all kinds (Emmy, Oscar... she must have torn down the house after her "Best Dressed: Class of '64" win at Birmingham High School) — can give you a lesson. In 2007, Field nabbed Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Brothers and Sisters, delivering a heartrending diatribe that capped with a fervent declaration.
"If the mothers ruled the world, there would be no g******ed wars in the first place!"
And in flow the cheers. The applause should last for quite a while, so you'll have a few seconds to kill. Now, there are two ways to handle this. You can stand with dignity, nodding and welling up, beaming with delight over your victory and celebrating the opportunity to express this message... or you can do something more fun. Something along the lines of what Steve Carell did at the 2007 Awards, when he accepted the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series on behalf of Ricky Gervais for the latter's starring role on Extras. Carell and awards presenters Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (old friends and collaborators of Carell's from his The Daily Show days) devised a most vivid visual depiction of joy... even though none of them had actually won anything.
Following this, you'll have the room's energy up to 11, and just the right blend of lightheartedness and sincerity to deliver your ka-pow moment. You know, the real drive-it-home, I'm-the-greatest, look-at-me-now-Dad exclamation of your newly achieved glory. In this category, you should look to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who had solidified her defeat over the dreaded "Seinfeld curse" that was said to follow her and all of her fellow former cast members after the conclusion of their hit show. In 2006, Louis-Dreyfus took home the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Award for The New Adventures of Old Christine, driving home one hell of a ka-pow with her speech.
“I'm not somebody who really believes in curses... but curse this, baby!"
Finally, it's about time to wrap up, and nothing stays with an audience better than one last laugh. A mean-spirited jab at your less-than-victorious opponents? A snarky bit of social commentary about the sitting president? The one about the priest and the rabbi? No. This one has to remind them that you're still on Earth with the rest of us. An undercut of this achievement you know to be well beyond anything that anyone else has ever earned. A take-down of your own spotlit swagger. Some good old fashioned self-deprecating humor. And there are few who top the great Larry David when it comes to this art form. The 1992 Emmy Awards offered David a platform for his patented self-directed mockery. Even after winning Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for Seinfeld's memorable fourth season episode "The Contest," David wasn't able to steer his mind away from his own personal shortcomings.
“This is all very well and good, but I'm still bald."
Boom. Mic drop. Off the stage. You're done here. Your 15 minutes (contracted into about 90 seconds, give or take) are over, but if you follow this guidelines, you'll have made it through like a champ. You'll be able to hold onto the fact that you delivered what might well be the greatest Emmys acceptance speech of all time. And who cares if you won for Reality Competition Program? An Emmy's an Emmy! Mazel tov — you've showed 'em all!
[Photo Credit: WENN, Vince Bucci/Getty Images]
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The Tomb Raider star was dropped by the designer line last year (10) after starring in its ad campaigns for more than five years, with redheaded singer Elson taking her place.
But now Elson is out of the picture, too - and Titanic star Winslet is slipping into her shoes.
The British beauty's appointment has come as a surprise to fashion insiders since top executive Glenn McMahon admitted last year (10) that Jolie was dropped because she "overshadowed" the brand.
He added, "We wanted to make a clean break from actresses and steer away from blondes and cleanse the palette."
Winslet posed for a campaign shot by photographer Craig McDean last week (ends01May11) and will appear in St. John advertisements later this year (10).
Everyone wants to be in the Colin Firth business now. After taking every acting award this year for his universally praised performance in Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, the actor is experiencing a career renaissance as offers pour in and the studios are opening their checkbooks for him. The latest big development in his professional life is that Gambit, the upcoming remake of the classic Michael Caine/Shirley MacLaine comedy that he's starring in alongside Cameron Diaz, has been purchased by CBS Films.
Joel and Ethan Coen penned the screenplay but sadly will not make this fun film their next. Instead, Michael Hoffman, who made one of my favorite '90s rom-com's (One Fine Day) as well as the highly acclaimed drama The Last Station, will direct the splashy remake. The story centers on an art curator who enlists the services of a Texas steer roper to con a wealthy collector into buying a phony Monet painting.
The 1966 original is a loose and lighthearted film that managed to score a few technical Oscar nominations and bring in some decent box office. Now that Firth is a household name, I don't see why this version won't do the same, or even surpass its success.
Source: CBS Films (via Coming Soon)
Animated films may come to dominate the family-film genre but they’ll never entirely edge out their live-action counterparts -- not so long as there exist characters like Nanny McPhee whose charms could never be properly rendered in a computer. After a half-decade away from the big screen Emma Thompson’s magical governess is back to take on a new batch of recalcitrant children in Nanny McPhee Returns. She's gotten better with age.
The second chapter of the Nanny McPhee saga which marks a definitive improvement over the first sends the unsightly taskmaster to the English countryside where Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal) the mother of three rambunctious tots (Oscar Steer Asa Butterfield and Lil Woods) has been left alone to raise her unruly brood and manage the family farm while her husband is away at war. (Though it’s never specifically mentioned the film is presumed to take place during World War II.) Harried but capable Isabel’s tenuous grip on her unfortunate situation begins to loosen when a pair of privileged London cousins (Eros Vlahos and Rosie Taylor-Ritson) and a shady indebted brother-in-law (Rhys Ifans) arrive to wreak fresh havoc in her already chaotic existence. On the verge of losing control of both her farm and her family she opens the door to find Nanny McPhee’s wart-covered visage staring back at her and not a moment too soon.
Though for the most part a breezy and whimsical fable Nanny McPhee Returns is unafraid to scatter a few dramatic bombshells amid its mix of lighthearted fantasy and practical life lessons trusting correctly that its youthful audience can handle a few bleak bumps en route to its happy ending. The biggest revelation of the film aside from director Susanna White and screenwriter/star Thompson’s bawdy comedic sensibilities (one of the film’s less pleasant lessons: kids never tire of scatological humor) is the proficiency of its child actors so often the weak link in even the best family fare. It’s their winning performances along with that of the always excellent Gyllenhaal that help make Nanny McPhee Returns not just an entertaining experience but an endearing one as well.
The Oscar-nominated movie, starring Ray Liotta as Hill, sparked controversy on its release 20 years ago (1990) for its graphic scenes of violence and its brutal portrayal of life in the Mafia.
But Hill, whose biography Wiseguy was the basis for the movie, is glad it has such a reputation - because it shows the downside to a life of gang crime.
He tells AMNY.com, "I think most (youngsters) didn't want any part of that lifestyle. People have told me... they wanted to be gangsters, but when they saw that movie that had a change of heart."
Hill also admits he now regrets his years in the mob, adding: "It was a lot of fun and exciting, but it wasn't worth the price I had to pay with my conscience and dealing with the demons."
The 26-year-old star has earned high praise for her first film role in last year's (09) Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress last week (02Feb10).
But Sidibe insists on staying put in New York and is refusing to even hire a publicist to help steer her career in the right direction since her rapid rise to fame.
She explains, "I don't want one (a publicist)... Because of the work here (in Hollywood), I look at L.A. as an office building. I live in Manhattan now."