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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Mon, 21/04/2014 - 12:04

By Jenny Priestley

You may have read this week about a plan for a sequel to Mrs Doubtfire. Apparently Robin Williams and director Chris Columbus are on board but there's no script or deal in place yet. Well, one of the stars of the original film has announced she definitely won't be back. Mara Wilson has tweeted that she has no plans to reprise her role as the film's "cute kid" Natalie Hillard. “I’ve been in some mediocre movies, but I’ve never been in a sequel. And I have no interest in being in one now,” Wilson wrote. “Sequels generally suck unless they were planned as part of a trilogy or series. I think Doubtfire ended where it needed to end.” She does admit no-one has asked her to be in the planned film ... 

The stars of X-Men: Days of Future Past will be walking the red carpet at the film's UK premiere on May 12. The film itself is out on May 22.

★ Steven Spielberg has added another film to the ever-growing list of what he might direct next. This time it's a religious drama written by Tony Kushner (Munich, Lincoln). The film's called The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara and is the story of an Italian Jew taken from his parents at the age of seven by authorities of the Papal States and raised as a Catholic, who went on to become a priest in the Augustinian order. Spielberg is definitely producing the film but hasn't decided whether to direct yet.

★ Giancarlo Esposito, who was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Breaking Bad, is being honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The actor, who played Gustavo "Gus" Fring on the awards-laden drama, will receive the honour on April 29.

Former Twilight star Kellan Lutz will be in London to promote his new film on Thursday. Lutz will be at the Apple store on Regent Street to discuss ha new film, Tarzan 3D. Apparently the classic story has been "completely reimagined" for a new generation. Hmm...

A quick date for your diary: the 87th Academy Awards will take place on February 22, 2015. Nominations are announced January 15.

As well as lining up a second Karate Kid movie, son-of-Will Jaden Smith is to co-star with Liev Schreiber in a drama about slavery. (You know what Hollywood is like, a slave drama wins the Oscar so now all the studios want one.) The Good Lord Bird follows the story of Henry Shackleford who is living as a slave in 1857. He meets John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, who argues with Henry's master. The young man is forced to leave town with Brown, who believes he’s a girl.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 13/04/2014 - 14:05

By Jenny Priestley

He's conquered comedy and musicals and now Tim Minchin is directing a movie. Larrakins is being made by DreamWorks Animation and tells the story of a bilby – a rabbit-sized marsupial that lives in the Australian desert – who goes on a quest after finding a dropped egg. "It's a bit Star Wars, a bit Gods Must be Crazy, a big road journey," he told The Age newspaper in Melbourne. Minchin was originally working on the film's score when DreamWorks bosses asked if he'd like to direct it too. No word yet on casting or a release date.

★ Nick Frost is also heading behind the camera this summer, directing a short horror film which he's also written. Little else is known is about the project which Frost revealed while promoting Cuban Fury in the US. He's a busy man at the moment. As well as his promotional duties in the US, Frost is about to debut his new show for Sky, Mr Sloane, which co-stars the always brilliant Olivia Colman. He's also working on a new pilot for the US, Sober Companion, as mentioned in this column a couple of weeks ago.

Is another star of The Hobbit heading to the West End? Following last week's news that Martin Freeman is to play Richard III, there are now rumours Richard Armitage (aka Thorin Oakenshield) could be starring in The Crucible at the Old Vic in London this summer. The play is due to open on June 24.

Meanwhile, acclaimed stage star Mark Rylance is in talks to play Johnny Depp's father in the upcoming Alice in Wonderland sequel. If the deal goes through, Rylance will play Zanik Hightopp, the Mad Hatter's father, who cannot hide his brightly-coloured hair beneath a top hat. Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter are expected to reprise their roles in the new film, which is being helmed by Muppets Most Wanted director James Bobin.

If you haven't heard Screenjabber's new wrestling podcast then you definitely should – and I suspect my next bit of news might interest the guys: Hulk Hogan is coming to the UK. He's hosting SmackDown at the O2 in London on May 20.

Two indie stars have announced plans to take to the stage in New York this week. Michael Cera will star alongside Kieran Culkin in This Is Our Youth, opening at the Cort Theatre in August. Meanwhile Greta Gerwig is replacing Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Village Bike. The play opens in June and will mark Gerwig's stage debut.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 06/04/2014 - 13:38

By Jenny Priestley

In a pretty serious case of "anything you can do", both Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are to play Richard III. Freeman will play the king in a new stage production opening at London's Trafalgar Studios later this summer. Meanwhile, his Sherlock co-star will take on the role in the second season of BBC Two's Shakespeare's History Plays. No word yet on when it'll be shown. Further casting for both productions is still TBA.

Has Star Wars 7 started filming without any of us realising? In a new interview, Disney Studios boss Alan Horn says JJ Abrams has started production and they have most of the cast in place – so just tell us already!! In the interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Horn also reveals that the film will begin where Return of the Jedi finished, which will be "35 years ago by the time this is released". So I would definitely take that to mean we'll see Luke, Leia and Han back in Episode VII.

Lots of people tipped him as a possible successor to Daniel Craig, but it seems Chiwetel Ejiofor could be playing the next Bond villain instead. Apparently producers have made him number one on their list of actors who could take on 007 in the new film which is due to begin production this summer. Nothing's official yet though, so we'll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, Chiwetel will be at the Odeon in Greenwich on April 9 for a special Q&A to promote his new film, Half A Yellow Sun. He'll be joined by director Biyi Bandele to promote the drama which is out on April 11. And if that's not enough tenuous Bond news for you, director Sam Mendes is introducing a screening of Paris, Texas as part of the BFI's Screen Epiphanies series at the Southbank on May 20.

★ Helen Mirren is to co-star alongside Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Bruhl in the real-life drama Woman In Gold. The Oscar-winning actress will play a World War II survivor who fights the Austrian government to get back several paintings by Gustav Klimt that were stolen from her Jewish family. Reynolds will play her lawyer, with Bruhl expected to play his adversary. The film's being directed by Simon Curtis and is expected to begin production next month.

★ Holly Hunter is joining the cast of the Superman/Batman movie. She'll be playing a brand new character, but no other details have been revealed yet. Meanwhile, the highly underrated Judy Greer has joined Jurassic World, but again no details about her character have been revealed.

The always brilliant Kristen Wiig, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney are set to co-star in The Heart, the new film from Jim Rash and Nat Faxon. The story follows a woman (Wiig) who agrees to transport black market organs with a man she just met (played by Rockwell). Janney will appear as Wiig's intimidating boss. Filming's expected to begin next month.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 30/03/2014 - 11:55

By Jenny Priestley

This year's Sundance London festival will feature new films from Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Michael Fassbender, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Cera and the long-awaited UK premiere of Fruitvale Station. The annual event takes place at the O2 centre in East London from April 25-27. Highlights include comedy They Came Together starring Rudd, Poehler, Cobie Smulders and Max Greenfield; The Trip To Italy with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and The One I Love with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss and Ted Danson. Tickets are on sale now.

Meanwhile, we're only a couple of months away from the Cannes Film Festival and speculation has begun about which films are likely to screen on the Croisette the year. We already know the festival is opening with Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman. Other films that may make the line-up include Foxcatcher starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo which was due to be released in the US in time for award season and then got pulled. David Cronenberg's latest, Maps To The Stars, could also be there, meaning Robert Pattinson walking the red carpet. Other possibilities include Carey Mulligan's latest, Far From The Madding Crowd and Birdman starring Michael Keaton. All will be revealed on April 17, when Cannes officially announces this year's line-up.

When you think of a film about Winston Churchill you definitely think of Kevin Spacey in the title role, right? Yeah, he wouldn't be my first choice, either. But that's what happening, Spacey has signed to play the iconic PM in a new film, Captain of the Gate. It's about Churchill's rise to power during the early years of World War II. Hopefully, he won't be portrayed as quite as scheming as Frank Underwood!

★ Mel Gibson's having another go at trying to get his career back on track. This time he's signed to star in Blood Father, described as an action thriller in the Taken vein. He'll be playing an ex-con who reunites with his wayward 16-year-old daughter to protect her from drug dealers who are trying to kill her. Filming begins in May.

Another John Le Carre thriller is heading to the big screen with a plethora of British acting talent attached. Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Damian Lewis and Jeremy Northam will star in Our Kind of Traitor alongside Stellan Skarsgaard. The story follows a couple of who meet a nice Russian oligarch whilst on holiday but of course nothing is quite what it seems. Filming has just begun.

★ Nick Frost is going to try his luck with US TV. He's to co-star in comedy pilot, Sober Companion. The show is about lawyer Robert who's also an alcoholic. After showing up in court so drunk he falls flat on his face, Robert is told he must have a 'sober companion' for the next 90 days. Justin Long will play the sober companion. Sounds to me like it could work.

★ Michael Chiklis is the latest big name to join the cast of American Horror Story. He'll be joining the fourth season of the show, which has the subtitle Freak Show, as the ex-husband of Kathy Bates's character.

Very quick bit of celeb spotting news for you. On Monday, Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Sam Claflin will all be at the Apple Store in Regent Street, London, promoting their new movies. Claflin's up first with co-star Jared Harris to discuss their thriller The Quiet Ones, followed by Woodley and James who are promoting Divergent.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 23/03/2014 - 16:08

By Jenny Priestley

★ Simon Pegg, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley and Kate Beckinsale begin shooting a new film on March 24 called Absolutely Anything. It's being directed by Monty Python star Terry Jones, left – his first film since 1996. The story follows a disillusioned schoolteacher who suddenly finds he has the ability to do anything he wants. The film will also feature a group of aliens, voiced by other members of the Python gang, and Robin Williams will voice Pegg's loyal dog, Dennis.

Is Christian Bale going to play former Apple supremo Steve Jobs? The Oscar-winning actor is said to be top of director David Fincher's wish list for the bio-pic. The script it being written by Aaron Sorkin and we all know how well Fincher and Sorkin work together. No word yet on whether Bale's even been offered the role, but surely it'll mean yet another Oscar nomination if he does.

★ Modern Family star Ty Burrell will be at the Apple Store on Regent Street to promote Muppets Most Wanted on March 25. He'll be joined by Muppets director James Bobin. Then on March 27 it's the turn of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, who are promoting their new BBC series, The Trip to Italy

Is David Brent heading back to our screens? In an interview with the Sunday Times, Ricky Gervais has revealed he wants to bring Brent back for another mockumentary, this time about Brent's attempt to tour with his band, Foregone Conclusion. He doesn't have a deal in place with a broadcaster yet so we'll see if this actually happens.

Meanwhile the star of the other Office, Steve Carell, looks set to play a cancer patient in a new film. Priority List will follow the true story of teacher David Menasche, who was told he only had a few months left to live after being diagnosed with brain cancer. After a seizure forced him to stop teaching in 2012, Menasche went on a cross-country journey to reconnect with former students from his 15-year teaching career. Oscar time for Mr Carell?

One of the stars of Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom will be at a special screening of the film in London this week. Judith Hill will be joined by other celebs at the gala screening at Screen On the Green in Islington on March 25.

★ Dylan Penn, the daughter of Sean Penn and Robin Wright, has landed the lead role in new horror movie, Condemned. The plot follows a group of kids who live in a condemned, filthy squat on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. After an infection originating from their own waste hits the building’s residents, the people inside lose their minds and go on murderous rampages. Filming begins next month.

In case you missed it: Andy Serkis is to direct the Warner Bros live-action version of The Jungle Book (which should not be confused with Disney's new adaptation, being directed by Jon Favreau). Plus, it looks like Ghostbusters III is finally, maybe, going to happen. Director Ivan Reitman has decided to step back and it seems The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are the studio's choice. 

★ Orlando Bloom is to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next month. The Lord of the Rings star is being honoured on April 2. Forest Whitaker will be among the guest speakers.

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That's Showbiz With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 16/03/2014 - 12:23

By Jenny Priestley

The Star Wars rumour mill has seriously cranked up a gear this week with reports of actors meeting director JJ Abrams for both the male and female lead roles. First we heard Abrams is considering a number of up-and-coming actors for the male lead including Brit stars John Boyega and Ed Speleers. You may know Boyega from Attack The Block, and he's also starring in a new film about Olympian Jesse Owens. Speleers is best known for his role as flirty footman Jimmy in Downton Abbey. If that's not enough to get us all excited about Episode VII ( as if he already weren't) it now seems Abrams has met with Hollywood's new darling Lupita N'yongo (left). Whether or not she'll journey to a galaxy far, far away remains to be seen, but Abrams must be getting ready to start making some rumours official as filming is imminent.

In case you missed it, CBS has announced that The Big Bang Theory has been renewed for another three seasons – good news for fans of Doctor Sheldon Cooper and co. Meanwhile, we're finding out more about the How I Met Your Mother spin-off. Joining Greta Gerwig in How I Met Your Dad are Masters of Sex‘s Nick D’Agosto and comedian Andrew Santino.

The Hunger Games and Pleasantville director Gary Ross is to direct a new film about Bobby Kennedy. Plot details aren't being revealed at the moment, but it is expected that the film will deal with Kennedy's loss of his brother, Jack. I wonder who they'll cast in the role?

★ Fletch Lives? It seems so. Jason Sudeikis has been cast in a remake of 1980s comedy Fletch. The original of course starred Chevy Chase as the investigative reporter. Meanwhile, Sudeikis's other half Olivia Wilde has been cast in a new drama for HBO which is being made by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger. The show, which doesn't have a title yet, follows a 1970s record exec (Bobby Cannavale) desperately seeking the next big thing.

BAFTA has announced that its 2015 Film Awards will take place on February 8 at the Royal Opera House. Unfortunately, the BBC still has the rights, meaning that the winners will be all over Twitter before we actually get to see the ceremony – because, of course, you can't move Countryfile for one week!!

News of two high-profile premieres happening in London next month. Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton will be in town to promote their new comedy, The Other Woman, on April 2. Then on April 10, London hosts the world premiere of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone expected on the red carpet.

Former Doctor Who star Matt Smith is among the stars taking part in this year's Soccer Aid fundraiser at Old Trafford on June 8. Other footballing celebs taking part include Damian Lewis, True Blood’s Stephen Moyer, Michael Sheen and James McAvoy.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 09/03/2014 - 14:26

By Jenny Priestley

Is Steven Spielberg planning a remake of West Side Story? According to reports, he wants to remake the classic musical and studio Fox, which own the rights, is willing to let him do it. At the moment it's just at the "he's interested in doing it" stage, so there's no deal, writer or cast involved. Interestingly in an interview with CNN in 2011 Spielberg said he wanted to make 'an old-fashioned musical' - well here's your chance Steve!

Comedian and actor Jerry Lewis is to have his hands and feet immortalised in cement at the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. The actor will join the likes of Robert De Niro, Sean Connery and even the Twilight stars, who have all previously stuck their appendages in wet cement. His ceremony takes place on April 12.

★ Jude Law is in talks to join Melissa McCarthy in spy comedy Susan Cooper. The film, which starts production next month, follows a female James Bond. Jason Statham and Rose Byrne are already confirmed to co-star. The film's being directed by Paul Feig.

Meanwhile the current James Bond, Daniel Craig, looks set to work with Renee Zellweger in his next project – remember her? Zellweger is in talks to join The Whole Truth, described as an indie courtroom thriller. If she does sign the deal, it'll be Zellweger's first film in four years.

★ Idris Elba is to voice Shere Khan in Jon Favreau's live-action version of The Jungle Book. As we all the know, the story follows young Mowgli, who is raised in the jungle by wild animals. Shere Khan stalks Mowgli and decides to kill him when he becomes a threat.

Want to see Mark Gatiss discuss Sherlock? Well not quite... But Gatiss is taking part in the BFI's Screen Epiphanies series of screenings and he's chosen The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes as his screening. No doubt he's going to mention the BBC drama at the event on April 9. Meanwhile, this week Gatiss has said he doesn't think there'll be any new episodes of Sherlock until 2016 as Cumberbatch and Freeman are so busy. Sad face.

★ Is "The Brilliant Emma Thompson" (trademark me) headed to the London stage? She's been starring in a concert version of Sweeney Todd in New York with Bryn Terfel and apparently there's now talk of bringing it to London. It seems that they just need to work out dates. Come on Emma, sort your diary out – who wouldn't love to see her in the West End?

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 02/03/2014 - 13:54

By Jenny Priestley

★ It looks as though two of the big franchise movies for 2015 have found their bad guys. Vincent D'Onofrio and Irrfan Khan will join the raptors in Jurassic World. Khan was last seen playing the older Pi in Life of Pi and D'Onofrio was in the first Men in Black. Plus Adam Driver looks like being the baddie in Star Wars Episode VII.

★ Meanwhile, Ted 2 – also due out next year – has cast Amanda Seyfried as its female lead. She's replacing Mila Kunis in the film which will see Mark Wahlberg and his talking bear return to the screen.

★ Eddie Izzard is also heading back to the big screen, starring with Dustin Hoffman in musical Boychoir (who knew either of them could sing?). Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas and Glee's Kevin McHale are also among the cast. The story follows a choir at a boys' boarding school, with Hoffman as the demanding choirmaster.

★ I admit I'm excited about this: David Fincher is in talks to direct Sony's Steve Jobs biopic. And to get me even more excited, it's being written by Aaron Sorkin. Apparently Sorkin wants the story to play out in just three single-take scenes, which could make it a real challenge for director and stars (and make it very different from The Social Network).

★ Josh Gad, who I think completely stole Frozen, is set for a voice role in another animated movie. He's expected to join Adam Sandler and Kevin James in Pixels, about four gaming champs who are called on to save the world when aliens attack by staging versions of 1980s Space Invader games.

★ Fancy some celeb spotting? The UK premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be at Westfield Vue on March 20 – expect most of the cast to be there. The day after there's a special screening of The Machine with stars Toby Stephens and Denis Lawson due at the Vue in Piccadilly. And if you're in Singapore on March 29 (you might be),The Amazing Spider-Man's Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx will be helping to promote Earth Hour. They'll be switching off the lights across Singapore's Marina Bay skyline.

★ Actor/director Richard Ayoade is turning author. He's signed a three-book deal with Faber to write about film (lucky thing!). The first book is called Ayoade On Ayoade and is described as a celebration and a recognition of the myth of film. It should be out in November.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sat, 22/02/2014 - 18:48

By Jenny Priestley

★ Jennifer Lopez is the latest Hollywood star to head to TV. She's going to star in and produce a new drama series called Shades of Blue. Lopez will play a single mother who is recruited to work undercover for the FBI's anti-corruption task force. The show is expected to debut as part of the 2015-16 TV season, so it won't be on screens until around September or October of next year. One of the show's other producers is Lopez's American Idol co-star, Ryan Seacrest. I sincerely hope there are no plans for him to film a cameo.

All four of last year's acting Oscar winners will be back to present at this year's ceremony. Daniel Day Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz and Anne Hathaway will present the winners with their trophies on March 2nd. The Academy has also revealed that Bette Midler and Pink are going to perform during the show (though not together). We don't know yet what either of them will be doing (well, other than singing). Surprisingly this will be the first time Midler has ever performed at the ceremony.

Viggo Mortensen is Captain Fantastic. Unfortunately, he's not starring in a biopic of the great Steven Gerrard. Instead the artist formerly known as Aragorn has signed on to lead the cast of a drama about a man who returns to civilisation after years of living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest (maybe he was looking for teenage vampires). Filming's expected to begin this summer.

In case you missed it, Jada Pinkett Smith is to play the villain in new TV drama Gotham. The show stars Benjamin McKenzie as a young Inspector Jame Gordon. Pinkett Smith will be playing an entirely new character called Fish Mooney (yes, really). Apparently she's a nightclub owner and sadistic gangster boss. Who knew?

Producing genius Judd Apatow is the recipient of this year's Paleyfest Icon Award, which recognises individual creative achievements in television. Apatow a producer of Lena Dunham's much acclaimed TV series, Girls. He'll be presented with the award in Beverly Hills on March 10.

Everything is awesome again! In news that I doubt will surprise anyone, a sequel to The LEGO Movie has been announced. It'll be in cinemas in May 2017, so we have a little while to wait.

Ray Parker Jr of Ghostbusters fame is the latest recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He'll be honoured with the 2518th star on the Hollywood attraction on March 6. Just remember, he ain't afraid of no ghosts!

Maybe my favourite story of the week: the producers of Dallas are planning to launch their own brand of whiskey. JR Ewing Bourbon is helping to promote the third season of the recently returned show. It'll be on sale in the US at the end of March and is apparently a four-year-old, 80-proof light amber-colored bourbon, whatever that means!

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 16/02/2014 - 15:51

By Jenny Priestley

They're not cashing in, honestly. The Simpsons is to feature a whole episode made out of LEGO. The special will see Homer wake up in a world where Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and the rest of Springfield are made out of the little blocks. It'll air in the US on May 4.

A new mini-series about the relationship between Laurence Olivier and Vivienne Leigh is in pre-production. It’ll be a four-part drama about the couple who were married from 1940-60. Producer Paul Fischer has told me they plan to follow Olivier from his 20s through to his death, so Sir Kenneth Branagh won’t be reprising his Oscar-nominated performance from My Week With Marilyn (shame). Talks are under way with broadcasters and actors with Fischer revealing they have "something special (hopefully)" up their sleeves.

Meanwhile, a film about Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy is in the works. It’ll follow their relationship from their meeting in 1942 to Tracy’s death in 1967. No director or actors are in place yet, but producers say they hope to start filming in the next 12 months. I wonder if they can get Cate Blanchett to play Hepburn again? She won an Oscar for her role in The Aviator.

★ Alyson Hannigan’s been sorting out what she’s going to do next now that Ted Moseby has finally Met The Mother. She’s signed on to star in the new comedy series More Time With Family. She’ll star as the wife of a man who takes a career break in order to spend more time with his family. It’s got a good pedigree – the show’s producers are Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

Dates for your diary: this year’s BFI London Film Festival takes place from October 8 to 19.

Is Ron Howard heading to the Jungle? According to reports, the Oscar-winning director is being lined-up to make a live action version of The Jungle Book. The film’s been in development for absolutely ages and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu dropped out last month. Disney also has its own live-action movie planned with Jon Favreau expected to direct.

★ Sheridan Smith is to play Cilla Black in a new three-part drama for ITV. The show will be set in the 1960s and follow Priscilla White’s journey to Cilla Black. Smith has excellent form working with ITV, she won a BAFTA for her role in Great Train Robbery drama, Mrs Biggs.

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