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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 21/12/2014 - 14:48

By Jenny Priestley

★ Carrie Fisher will star in the new Channel 4 comedy from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney. She'll play the eccentric mother of Delaney's character. The series follows a couple who struggle to fall in love in London and will also feature Ashley Jensen as Horgan's "awful friend". Horgan and Delaney will attend a preview of the first two episodes at BAFTA on January 12.

Meanwhile, cast and crew from new BBC drama The Eichmann Show will be at BAFTA on January 19. The BBC Two film stars Martin Freeman and Anthony LaPaglia and is about the televising of the trial of Adolf Eichmann – one of the main architects of the Holocaust. No word yet on which cast members will be there.

Oscar winner Kate Winslet is in talks to play the lead female role in Jobs, the film about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. If she takes the role, Winslet will star alongside Michael Fassbender, who is expected to star as Jobs. Seth Rogen is due to play Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack. The film is being directed by Danny Boyle and is written by Aaron Sorkin.

★ JK Simmons is joining Tom Hiddleston in Kong: Skull Island. The film, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, focuses on the island home of King Kong. The film is due for release in March 2017.

★ Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart are to appear together on the London stage next year. They will star in a revival of No Man's Land – which they performed in rep in New York last year (and I was lucky enough to see). The pair last appeared together on stage in London when they collaborated on Waiting For Godot in 2009. No news yet on where and when they play will be staged.

The stage production of School of Rock will open on Broadway next December. The show has been created by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Julian Fellowes, so it has some serious talent behind it. The show is inspired by the 2003 film starring Jack Black and will feature songs from the movie as well as some new compositions. It officially opens on December 6, 2015.

★ David Oyelowo is to star alongside Lupita N'yongo in the new drama Americanah. The film is based on the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and follows a pair of young Nigerian immigrants who face a lifetime of struggle while their relationship endures. The film counts one Brad Pitt among its producers.

★ Sarah Silverman is to star in a pilot for a new comedy series for HBO. The series has been created by Lucy Prebble and is described as a comic look at a pathologically honest woman having a modern mid-life crisis.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sat, 13/12/2014 - 18:16

By Jenny Priestley

★ Pedro Almodovar will attend a special screening of his 1988 film Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the BFI on January 11. Coincidentally, that's the night before the new musical based on the film officially opens at the Playhouse Theatre, starring Tamsin Greig. I don't suppose it would be a huge leap to expect the Spanish director to attend the first night.

★ George Clooney is working on a new TV series set at a Hollywood film studio during the 1990s. Apparently it's a dark comedy looking at the movie business through the eyes of the studio bosses running the studio. At the moment Clooney is in talks with various TV networks but I would expect them to jump at the chance to work with the Oscar winner. Clooney will produce the show but we don't know at this stage if he'll appear in the series.

★ Stephen Fry has been confirmed as the host of the BAFTA Film Awards in February. It'll be his 10th time as host of the awards.

New films starring Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez, James Franco, Ewan McGregor, Greta Gerwig, Jesse Eisenberg, Saoirse Ronan, Ryan Reynolds, Peter Sarsgaard and Lily Tomlin have been announced among the premieres at the Sundance Film Festival. George Lucas will also make his festival debut when he joins Robert Redford to discuss the power of independence in film while Lena Dunham, Kristen Wiig and Mindy Kaling will be talking about the changing roles of female characters on both TV and in films. The annual festival runs from January 22 to February 1.

★ Kevin Costner is expected to be honoured with the Career Achievement Award at the Critics Choice Awards in Hollywood on January 15.

★ Maureen Lipman is joining James Dreyfus in the new stage production of Harvey. The play opens at Birmingham Rep on February 6 before touring the country ahead of a West End transfer. Lipman will play Veta, who tries to get her brother, Elwood P Dowd (Dreyfus) committed rather than risk the family’s reputation.

★ Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox will announce the nominees for the London Film Critics' Circle Awards at a special event on Thursday December 16. The duo are on the publicity trail to promote their new film The Woman In Black: Angel of Death. They'll also be at the Apple Store on Regent Street that evening to discuss the film.

★ Game of Thrones fans, Westeros needs you! Fans are being invited to submit artwork, songs, photographs, recipes and stories to be part of a new official compendium of the show. All submissions must pertain to events that took place during series one to four of the TV series (so you can't include anything from A Dance with Dragons). Fans whose work is chosen will receive a copy of the book with their name listed as a contributor. To find out more visit the website. The book should be released in 2015.

★ Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates are to star in the English language debut from acclaimed director Xavier Dolan. They join Jessica Chastain and Kit Harrington in the film, which is called The Death And Life of John F Donovan. The film tells the story of fictional actor John F Donovan — famous for playing a superhero — whose life and career are turned upside-down when his private correspondence with an 11-year-old fan is exposed and made to look indecent by a gossip columnist. Filming's due to begin in the spring.

★ Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons have been announced as cast members for the second series of Fargo. The new 10-episode series is set in 1979  and follows young State Police Officer Lou Solverson, recently back from Vietnam, who faces an all new “true crime” case. Filming is due to begin in January with the new series expected to air in the autumn.

★ Ryan Murphy is busy casting some big names in his two new TV series. First Cuba Gooding Jr and Sarah Paulson will star in American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson. Gooding and will play Simpson with Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark. The series is expected to debut on FX next year. Meanwhile Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts will lead the cast of Murphy's other new show Scream Queens, which he's making for Fox. The 15-episode anthology series revolves around a college campus that is rocked by a series of murders.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 07/12/2014 - 13:35

By Jenny Priestley

★ David Hasselhoff is launching his own app – Hoff Zombie Beach involves Hoff defending a beach from a wave of zombies. He's promoting it at the Apple Store on Regent Street on December 15.

Fancy spending a festive evening with Eddie Izzard? He'll be at a special screening of his BBC drama Lost Christmas at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea on December 29. Eddie stars alongside Jason Flemyng in the 2011 drama which follows a young orphan who meets a mysterious stranger.

Bad news for a Star Trek fans. Robert Orci, who was due to direct the new film, has suddenly dropped out. He took over directing duties after JJ Abrams opted to travel to a Galaxy Far, Far Away. Rumours are Brit director Edgar Wright could be in line to take over – which I think would be fantastic! I'd love to see a Wright version of Star Trek. The next film is expected to be released in 2016, just before Trek's 50th anniversary.

★ Seth MacFarlane and Jimmy Kimmel will be on hand to pay tribute to producer Don Mischer when he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this week. Mischer, who's worked on everything from the Oscars to the Super Bowl Half Time Show will be honoured on December 11.

Former Frasier actress Peri Gilpin is returning to TV in a new sitcom for NBC. The show, called Mr Robinson, stars Craig Robinson as a teacher with Gilpin playing the school principal. The show also features Spencer Grammer, daughter of Kelsey

It's a big week in the race to Oscars. On Wednesday Eva Longoria and Ansel Elgort announce the nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards at 6am PST (2pm UK time). Then on Thursday it's the Golden Globes' turn to reveal their nominees. That one's at 5.30am PST (1.30pm GMT) and you can watch it live online.

Lots of superhero casting news this week, first Benedict Cumberbatch has finally been confirmed as Marvel's Doctor Strange. Plus Krysten Ritter has been cast in Marvel's latest Netflix series Jessica Jones. The character is a former superhero who decides to set up a detective agency after suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. And if that's not enough, Ryan Reynolds has confirmed he'll be returning as Deadpool. Filming's due to begin in March. At least it's not The Green Lantern!

The dates been announced for the debut of Matthew Perry's version of The Odd Couple. Perry stars as Oscar Madison alongside Thomas Lennon as Felix Unger. The show will premiere on CBS on February 19 right before the very last episode of Two And A Half Men.

★ Chris Pratt is in talks to star alongside Denzel Washington in a remake of The Magnificent Seven. The film's being directed by Antoine Fuqua. Pratt's in early talks to play a character called Farraday. Filming's due to begin in the first quarter of 2015 so there'll be lots more casting announcements over the coming months.

★ Helena Bonham Carter and Rebecca Hall are to star in a new HBO drama from Steve McQueen. Codes of Conduct is about New York's high society. If the pilot becomes a series (and with that calibre of talent involved it definitely should) it would be Bonham Carter's first series regular role. She's expected to play a society maven while Hall will star as the eldest child of a New York billionaire.

Probable Oscar nominee Felicity Jones is in talks to join Tom Hanks in Inferno. Jones could end up playing Sienna Jones, a doctor Robert Langdon teams up with to stop a madman releasing a global plague. Ron Howard will be directing the third film based on Dan Brown's best-selling novels.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 30/11/2014 - 14:02

By Jenny Priestley

Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds is writing his memoirs. The book will be titled But Enough About Me and Reynolds is expected to share his memories of over 40 years of acting and directing. It's due to be published next autumn with the actor coming to the UK to promote it.

Looks like Disney just won't Let It Go. Actress and singer Idina Menzel, who voices Elsa in Frozen, has revealed there are plans for a sequel. Mendel's revealed there are plans for a stage musical (which has been rumoured for a while) as well as a sequel to the Oscar-winning musical. Meanwhile, Frozen is back in cinemas now, and on DVD, in a special sing-along version so you can join in with Olaf on In Summer.

★ Ross Noble has joined the cast of The Producers, which will be touring the UK next year. He'll be playing Franz Liebkind, who writes Springtime for Hitler. He joins Jason Manford, who'll be playing Leo Bloom, and Louie Spence who's been signed up to play Carmen Ghia. No word yet on who'll star as Max Bialystock. The tour begins in Bromley on March 6 and wraps up in Dublin on July 11.

December 8 will be Peter Jackson Day in Hollywood as the director is honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The event will take place at 11.30am outside the Dolby Theatre with Andy Serkis on hand as one of the guest speakers. Also attending the event will be The Hobbit stars Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, Luke Evans, Richard Armitage and Elijah Wood. Jackson receives the honour the day before the LA premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

★ Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox will attend a screening of the new film The Woman in Black: Angel of Death at the BFI on December 11. The new film is set 40 years after the events of The Woman in Black, with Eel Marsh House acting as a school for children during the Second World War.

Meanwhile, Steve Pemberton and Miranda Richardson will be at the BFI on December 10 for the screening of their new BBC drama, Mapp and Lucia, which is due to be shown over Christmas and also features Anna Chancellor and Mark Gatiss.

This should be interesting reading: Brian Blessed is writing his autobiography. Did you know he's appeared in more than 200 films and TV programmes? And that as a boxer, he once sparred with Mohammed Ali? The as-yet untitled book should be out next autumn.

★ Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Dan Stephens, Sir Ben Kinglsey, Ricky Gervais and Rebel Wilson will walk the red carpet at the UK premiere of Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb. The screening takes place on December 15 in Leicester Square. The film sees Stiller's character Larry travelling the globe to "save the magic before it's gone forever".

★ Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are to star in a new limited-series from the creator of Ally McBeal. The Oscar-winning actresses have signed on to star in Big Little Lies, which is about the mothers whose lives unravel to the point of murder. No word yet on a broadcaster.

Could the stage version of Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom be coming to the West End? According to reports Luhrmann and his team have been looking at theatres big enough to stage the show and it could open in London in late 2015 / early 2016. The musical debuted in Sydney earlier this year and is also due to be staged in Melbourne.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 23/11/2014 - 10:46

By Jenny Priestley

Former Doctor Who star Matt Smith is to star in the new zombie action thriller Patient Zero. He'll co-star alongside Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer in the film, which takes place in a post-outbreak zombie apocalypse and follows one man who has the unique ability to speak with the undead and who hopes to use his gift to discover a cure for the plague and his infected wife.

Good news for fans of Game of Thrones (or those who haven't seen it yet), all four series of the show will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic over 12 days from December 20. Because nothing says christmas like beheadings, regicide and incest!

Possible new Bond villain Christoph Waltz is to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The double Oscar winner will be honoured on December 1. Quentin Tarantino, who directed Waltz to both his Oscar wins, will be among the guest speakers.

Boyhood star Ethan Hawke will be discussing his career at BAFTA on December 18. He will be the latest subject of BAFTA's A Life in Pictures series. Tickets are on sale to the public.

★ Paul Dano is to star in the new HBO series from 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen. Codes of Conduct follows a young black man as he enters New York high society. Dano will play an entrepreneur who becomes friends with the lead character. Filming on the pilot begins this week.

★ David Walliams will attend a special screening of his new BBC adaptation at the BFI Southbank on December 14. The one-off special is based on Walliams' book The Boy in the Dress. It tells the story of 12-year-old Dennis who is ordinary boy, who lives in an ordinary town – but he feels different. A chance view of a fashion magazine introduces him to a whole new world of colour and creativity, but can a boy wear a dress, and what will the Headmaster, his Dad, and his friends think if they find out? The cast includes Jennifer Saunders, Tim McInnerny, Meera Syal, James Buckley, Walliams and Kate Moss.

Not long now until the world premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which is taking place in London on December 1. Not to worry if you're not based in the UK though as more international premieres have been confirmed: Paris follows London on December 4, then it's on to Toronto for December 6 with a simultaneous event going on in Mexico, it's Brazil's turn on December 7. The cast and crew arrive in North America for the New York premiere on December 8 followed by LA on December 9. And at some point they've got to fit in Wellington – wouldn't surprise me if they make it the very final event.

★ Martin Freeman is in talks to co-star alongside Tina Fey in the comedy Taliban Shuffle. The film stars Fey as real life journalist Kim Barker who is posted to Kabul, and follows her attempts to do her job while also dealing with bouts of violence and what's described "the promiscuous war-correspondent culture". Freeman will play Fey's unexpected love interest, a dedicated Scottish photojournalist. Margot Robbie is expected to play one of Fey's rivals.

★ Bryce Dallas Howard may join Robert Redford in the remake of Pete's Dragon. It's thought she'll play the female lead on the film which is based on the 1977 version that follows Pete and his best friend Elliot, who happens to be dragon.

★ Wild director Jean-Marc Vallee looks set to direct a new film about Janis Joplin. Amy Adams is expected to star in the film which will probably shoot next summer. Could this finally be the film that wins Adams that ever-elusive Oscar?

★ Jon Hamm is returning to Pawnee. His character Ed appeared in the last episode of Parks and Recreation's sixth series, when he was fired by Leslie. He'll be among a host of stars appearing in the final series including Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones and Megan Mullally. Meanwhile, Hugh Laurie is currently filming a special appearance on Veep. We don't know anything about his role yet but pictures of him with Julia Louis Dreyfus and the rest of the cast have started popping up on Twitter.

★ Stephen Colbert will host this year's Kennedy Center Honors. The annual event fetes those who have been deemed to have given a lifetime of contributions to American culture. This year's ceremony will honour Tom Hanks, Lily Tomlin, Sting, Al Green and Patricia McBride. Speaking about his hosting gig, Colbert said: “I am stunned to be receiving a Kennedy Center Honor at such a young age. I thought it would be years before… I’m sorry. I’m being told I am HOSTING the Kennedy Center Honors. Oh… Well, I’m glad. That makes a lot more sense."

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 16/11/2014 - 09:12

By Jenny Priestley

Academy Award nominee James Franco will be in London this week to promote his new book. He'll be at Waterstones in Piccadilly on November 22 to sign copies of Actors Anonymous. The book is apparently inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous' 12 Steps and 12 Traditions and features multiple stories. Meanwhile The Princess Bride actor Cary Elwes will be at the same venue on November 24 to sign his new book, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of Princess Bride.

★ Eddie Izzard is writing his autobiography. He's signed a deal with an American publisher but it's almost certain the book will be released in the UK too. The untitled book is expected to cover his childhood and early life as well as his rise to fame in the UK and US. The book is expected to be released in time for Christmas next year.

★ Mark Strong will appear in the West End next year. His play A View From The Bridge will transfer to Wyndhams Theatre from February 16. The cast will also include Emun Elliott, Phoebe Fox and Nicola Walker.

★ Charlie Brooker will attend a special preview of the Black Mirror Christmas Special at the Curzon Soho on December 15. The special features Mad Men star Jon Hamm alongside Ralf Spall and Oona Chaplin and apparently features three interwoven stories of Christmas techno-paranoia.

★ Kelsey Grammer, Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly are to star in the Broadway production of Finding Neverland. The new musical is based in the film starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. Glee star Morrison will play JM Barrie with Kelly as Sylvia Llewelyn Davis and Grammer as Barrie's theatre producer (played by Dustin Hoffman in the film). The musical opens on Broadway on April 15.

★ George Clooney and Julia Roberts look set to reunite on the big screen. Julia is in talks to co-star alongside George in Money Monster, a new drama being directed by Jodie Foster. George will play a TV host who is taken hostage live on air. He has to uncover he truth about a big stocks deal while the situation unfolds. Julia is expected to play his producer. Rising British star Jack O'Connell (who seems to be in everything at the moment) is in talks to play the hostage taker. Filming is due to begin in the spring.

★ Billy Boyd's been discussing his song for the final Hobbit film. The actor, best known for playing Pippin in Lord of the Rings, has recorded The Last Goodbye for the closing credits of The Battle of the Five Armies. “We focused on not just the final instalment, but moreso on this 10-year epic adventure,” Boyd says. “A song to sum up the six movies. We recorded in Wellington, New Zealand, at one point traveling to Auckland to Neil Finn’s studio – where we recorded some of the guitar." I'm not ashamed to say the song brought a tear to my eye. I'm going to be such a mess when I listen to it in the cinema.

★ Daniel Bruhl has joined the cast of Captain America: Civil War. It's thought he's going to play the film's villain. The Cap's third solo outing is shaping up to have an all-star cast – Marvel mainstays Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Samuel L Jackson and Scarlett Johansson will all feature, as will newcomer Chadwick Boseman who'll debut as Blank Panther. The film's due for release in May 2016.

★ Shailene Woodley is in talks to star alongside Joseph Gordon Levitt in Oliver Stone's new film about Edward Snowden. If she signs on, Woodley will play Snowden's girlfriend. Filming is due to begin in January.

★ Bradley Whitford has joined the cast of new TV drama Happyish. The Showtime series was originally due to star Philip Seymour Hoffman but has been recast with Steve Coogan in the lead role. Whitford has joined the cast as Coogan's boss who is described as an "advertising industry legend whose success is due in equal parts to his creative genius and moral cravenness". So a lot different from Josh in The West Wing then.

★ JK Simmons and Anna Kendrick are in talks to star alongside Ben Affleck in assassin thriller The Accountant. The film tells the story of a mild-mannered accountant who moonlights as an assassin, and is being directed by Gavin O'Connor. Filming is due to begin in January.

★ Juliette Binoche will be appearing at next year's Edinburgh International Festival. She'll be taking to the stage to appear in Antigone, which will be a modern version of Sophocles's tragedy. The production will be staged at the King's Theatre in Edinburgh from 9 to 22 August. Tickets are on sale from November 29.

★ Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Michael Gambon, Julie Walters and Keyvan Novak will walk the red carpet at the world premiere of Paddington on November 23. They'll also be joined on the red carpet by the little bear's creator, Michael Bond. The premiere takes place at the Odeon Leicester Square. Meanwhile, Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Jodie Whittaker, Warwick Davis and Dasher the Reindeer will attend the London premiere of Get Santa on November 30.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 09/11/2014 - 15:04

By Jenny Priestley

★ Matt Damon has confirmed his return to the role of Jason Bourne. In an interview with E! Online, Damon revealed that the film will start production next year. "It'll be in 2016 when the movie will actually come out" he said. "Paul Greengrass is going to do another one and that's all I ever said. I just needed him to say yes."

Damon will also star in Downsizing, the new film from Alexander Payne. The film is described as a social satire about a man who realises he'd have a better life he became a psychiatrist.

Is Jared Leto the new Joker? He's being courted to play the role in Warner Bros' Suicide Squad. Tom Hardy, Will Smith and Margot Robbie are thought to be in talks for other roles in the film but I seems the Oscar-winning Leto is director David Ayer's choice to play the iconic role. Suicide Squad involves the government granting a group of supervillains a chance of redemption by sending them on a mission that will probably kill them.

★ The Big Bang Theory is being turned into Lego! The new set is expected to include figures of the new characters including Sheldon and Leonard as well as their living room – which, of course, is where most of the sitcom is set. The idea was submitted to Lego by some fans who then put it to an online vote and the idea received more than 10,000 votes. No word yet on when we'll get to see it.

Now this is a piece of casting news I never thought I'd write: Ian McKellen and Sylvester Stallone are going to appear in the same film. Well, sort of. They're both providing voices for new animated comedy Animal Crackers. The film follows a family who inherit a rundown circus. Danny DeVito will also be a part of the cast.

★ Matthew McConaughey is heading to the Civil War. Free State of Jones is about the true story of Newton Knight who defected from the Confederate Army with a group of other soldiers and they attempted to establish their own state. Gary Ross is expected to direct and it's slated to start filming early next year.

Meanwhile, McConaughey is getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He'll receive the award on November 17.

This is exciting: NBC is looking to stage a live reading of A Few Good Men. It's thought creator Aaron Sorkin will rewrite the script for TV. As we all know it's already been a film and stage play so why not TV as well? And Sorkin has a history with NBC (the greatest TV series ever...).

★ Rupert Friend looks set to make his directorial debut and Emily Blunt is in talks to star. The pair previously worked together on The Young Victoria. The film's called Barton & Charlie & Checco & Bill and it follows a con artist who meets a woman who he takes under his wing. But then she turns the tables on him. Filming's due to begin in the spring.

★ James Dreyfus is to star as Elwood P Dowd in a new theatre production of Harvey. The play will tour the UK next year starting in Birmingham on February 6. The play is being produced by Don Gregory, who brought the production to Broadway in 2012 with Jim Parsons as Dowd. 

★ Susan Sarandon and Allison Janney are in talks to star in the comedy Whatever Makes You Happy. The film will be directed by Cindy Chupack, who's previously worked on Sex And The City and Modern Family. The plot follows three friends who travel to New York to visit their sons and discover that everything may not be as rosy as they all thought. Filming is expected to begin in June.

Before she starts work on the film, Janney will be co-hosting the People's Choice Awards alongside her Mom co-star Anna Faris. The show takes place on January 7. Shailene Woodley leads the list of film nominees with four nods; Kaley Cuoco also has four in the TV categories and Brit singer Sam Smith also has four in the music categories.

★ Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan have joined the cast of Now You See Me 2,  with Raddcliffe playing the son of Michael Caine's character. Sir Michael actually revealed the news a while ago but now it's official with filming due to take place next month. Speaking about the idea of Radcliffe playing his son, Caine said: "My son is Harry Potter. I thought it’d be funny, me and Daniel Radcliffe as father and son."

★ Mark Rylance and Juliet Stevenson are staging a live read of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, the event is in aid of LIFT and takes place at the King's College Chapel on December 11.   A Christmas Memory is the recollection of a short and innocent period in the life of the seven-year-old narrator and his older distant cousin and best friend in 1930's America. As Christmas approaches they embark on a ritual involving friendship, cake, country life and the joy of giving.

Filming on the new Coen Brothers film Hail Casear! begins on Monday. It stars Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson and Jonah Hill and is set in Hollywood in the 1950s. It should be in cinemas in February 2016.

The nominations for this year’s Moët BIFA film awards have been announced this week. Drama ‘71 leads the nominations with nine nods including Best British Independent Film, Best Director and Best Actor for star Jack O’Connell. The brilliant Pride also received seven nominations. It’s definitely one of my favourite films of the year. Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley are both nominated for The Imitation Game which is also up for Best Independent Film. Other acting nominees include Alicia Vikander, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, Andrew Scott, Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllanhaal. The winners will be revealed on December 7.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 02/11/2014 - 13:14

By Jenny Priestley

★ Andy Serkis is taking a break from his Hollywood career to appear in a new video game. He'll be playing villain Guy Gisborne in new stealth adventure Volume. The game includes top-down stealth with player-generated levels. Players cannot kill in the game so will have to use their Ricochet device to control enemies and edit the environment. Volume is due for release on PS4, Vita and PC early next year.

★ Expect to see Serkis on the red carpet at the world premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in London on December 1. I'm delighted to see London get the world premiere – especially as there was no UK premiere for Desolation of Smaug. Organisers haven't announced who'll attend, but I would expect most of the cast – and, of course, Peter Jackson – to be there. Unfortunately it seems my hope for BotFA cameo appearances from Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan probably won't happen after Elijah Wood confirmed he won't be in the final film.

★ As I speculated back in July, Neil Patrick Harris is going to appear in American Horror Story. NPH will appear as a salesman in the last two episodes of the current season, while his husband, David Burtka, will be involved in a storyline with Jessica Lange’s character, Elsa Mars. Harris is a busy man at the moment. As well as hosting the Oscars, he's promoting his new book and looks set to front an American version of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Take-Away.

★ The Big Bang Theory star Kunal Nayyar will provide one of the voices for a new family comedy – he'll be street dog Santoosh in A Bollywoof Tale. The story follows Basil, a pet spaniel who moves with his family from London to Delhi, only to be lost in Kolkata after his crate is misplaced. Basil teams up with Santoosh and a Holy cow named Uma to help find his family. Filming begins early next year.

★ Ricky Gervais is heading back to the screen. He's going to star in and direct Special Correspondents, a comedy about a radio journalist and his producer who try to increase their flagging ratings by pretending to be kidnapped in Ecaudor. Really they're hiding out in a restaurant opposite their New York radio station. As a former radio producer I can tell you this would NEVER happen!! Eric Bana will play the journalist, with Gervais as his producer.

★ The Divergent Series: Insurgent is to be released in 3D. The film, which stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James, is the second in the Divergent series and is due in cinemas next March.

★ Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning and Susan Sarandon are to co-star in a new drama called Three Generations. The film follows teenager Ray (Fanning) who is transitioning from female to male and her single mother, Maggie (Watts), who is coming to terms with having to raise her only daughter as a son. At the same time, Maggie’s mother, Dolly (Sarandon), is struggling with Ray's decision and Maggie's inability to move out of the family home. Filming begins this month.

★ Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel are to work on a new drama about an Indian street kid adopted by an Australian couple. Lion will be directed by Garth Davis and is being produced by The Weinstein Company.

★ The final Colbert Report will be broadcast on December 18. Colbert is leaving the Emmy-winning show to take over The Late Show from David Letterman next year.

★ Oscar hopefuls Michael Keaton and Julianne Moore will be among the stars turning out for the Hollywood Film Awards on November 14. Reese Witherspoon, Gerard Butler, Robert Duvall, Jack O’Connell, Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum and Shailene Woodley will also take part in the ceremony, which will be hosted by Queen Latifah. It's the start of a very long road to February 22 ...

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sat, 25/10/2014 - 16:14

By Jenny Priestley

★ The Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco is to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She'll be honoured on October 29 with the 2,532nd star on the Hollywood attraction. Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar are all expected to attend, alongside the show's creator, Chuck Lorre.

★ Meanwhile, Parsons is voicing Buddy the Elf in a new animated version of the Will Ferrell film. The hour-long Elf: Buddy's Musical Special is being made by NBC and will broadcast in the US in the run-up to Christmas. The voice cast will also include Mark Hamill and Jay Leno. I really hope a UK broadcaster picks this up!

★ Frodo Baggins will be in London this week to promote his new film. Elijah Wood will be at the Regent Street Apple Store on Wednesday to plug Set Fire to The Stars.

★ Lena Dunham will also be in London on Wednesday to promote her new book, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned. Dunham will be at Waterstones in Piccadilly from 1.30pm.

★ Want to win tickets to the DVD launch of Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series? Of course you do! The event is being hosted by Frank Skinner and will feature some "very special guests", so you can probably expect Peter Capaldi and Jenna Colman to turn up. Maybe. It takes place on November 17 and you can enter the competition to win tickets until October 29.

★ James Corden will launch his Late, Late Show in the US on March 9. He's taking over the show from fellow Brit Craig Ferguson, who leaves on December 19.

★ Damian Lewis is returning to TV. He's going to star alongside Paul Giamatti in the drama Billions for Showtime. The series revolves around the clash between a US attorney (Giamatti) and a hedge fund boss (Lewis). The pilot will be directed by Neil Burger.

★ Steve Coogan has also landed a plum role on American TV. He's been chosen to replace Philip Seymour Hoffman in Showtime's dark comedy Happyish. The pilot will be filmed in December in New York. 

★ Luke Evans, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Olivia Wilde are to star in Ben Wheatley's new film. Free Fire is set in Boston in 1978 the story follows an arms deal that goes wrong and turns into a shootout. Filming's expected to begin in the spring.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sat, 18/10/2014 - 13:03

By Jenny Priestley

★ The stars of Quantum Leap are to reunite next month. Dean Stockwell is to have a guest-starring role on NCIS: New Orleans, which stars Scott Bakula. Stockwell will appear as a former cop who is confronted by investigators about a murder that happened 40 years ago. In Quantum Leap Stockwell played trusty sidekick Al to Bakula's time traveller Sam.

★ Game of Thrones actor James Cosmo has joined the cast of a new film being executive produced by Martin Scorsese. He joins Stephen Fry, Paul Kaye and Joss Stone in Tomorrow, which explores the difficulties experienced by soldiers when they return home from war. Filming has already begun on the film, which is directed by Martha Pinson.

★ Nicholas Hoult, Katie Holmes, Ariana Grande, Matthew Morrison and John Leguizamo are among the actors lending their voices to animated family comedy Underdogs. The film's already been released in the UK with Rupert Grint, Anthony Head and Peter Serafinowicz voicing the characters, but producers at The Weinstein Company are giving it a Hollywood makeover before the film's US release.

★ Robert Redford is in talks to appear in the remake of Pete's Dragon. This version of the film is expected to be set in a forest that is under threat from loggers. If Redford signs on he'll play a local whose stories of dragons go ignored by his neighbours. The film is being directed by David Lowery and is expected to film in New Zealand this autumn.

Get ready for awards season – on Thursday, the nominees for this year's Gotham Independent Film Awards are announce. The annual event prides itself on being the first awards of the season with the winners being announced on December 1. The event also includes tributes to actors/writers and directors and organisers have already announced that Tilda Swinton and director Bennett Miller are among this year's honourees.

★ Neil Patrick Harris has been talking about next year's Oscar ceremony after it was revealed this week that he's been given the hosting gig. "I have a lot of questions still about that job," he says. "I've gotten to be the sort-of co-producer of the Emmys while I was hosting. And, the Tonys, since I've hosted a number of times, I'm aware of more things than just the hosting spots. I don't want it to be super derivative of other shows that I've done. I don't want it to seem like I'm doing the same award hosting gig that I did on the Tonys, just on a different stage." Discussing the musical elements of the show NPH said his dream collaborators would be Adele, Lady Gaga and Pink.

Oscar nominee Frank Langella is joining the cast of drama series The Americans. Langella will appear in season three as a former KGB handler who comes out of retirement to take over the responsibility of Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell). The new season will debut in the US in January and is broadcast in the UK on ITV.

★ Interstellar director Christopher Nolan and star Anne Hathaway will be on hand to fete Matthew McConaughey at the American Cinematheque Award on Tuesday. Nolan will present McConaughey with the award while Hathaway joins Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Garner in paying tribute to the Oscar-winning actor.

★ Gal Gadot and Pedro Pascal are the latest names to be touted as cast members of the Ben-Hur remake. Game of Thrones actor Pascal is in talks to play Pontius Pilate in the film with the character playing more of a significant role in this version of the story than in the 1959 film. Meanwhile, Gadot is expected to play Esther, a slave with whom Ben-Hur is in love. Filming is due to begin early next year.

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