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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 14/09/2014 - 12:42

By Jenny Priestley

The new James Bond film will begin shooting on December 6, and the cast will get together at Pinewood Studios in late November for a read through of the script. Bond 24 will be Daniel Craig's fourth film as 007; he'll be joined by Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner and Ben Whishaw as Q. Further casting is still TBA. Location work is expected to take place in Austria, Rome and possibly Morocco. The film's due out on October 23, 2015.

★ The Simpsons are to meet The Simpsons. This year's Treehouse of Horror episode for Halloween will see Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie meet the original characters created by Matt Groening for the Tracey Ullman show. If you've ever seen the show you'll know the original characters look and sound completely different to the Simpsons we know today. The two families will meet each other and, it being Halloween, things won't end well.

★ Eddie Izzard is playing a one-off gig at the Leicester Square Theatre on September 19, in aid of the Save the Sutton Estate campaign.

★ John Cleese will be touring the UK to promote the release of his autobiography this autumn. So Anyway is out on October 9 and Cleese will be at Waterstones Piccadilly on publication day for a signing and reading. He'll then head out around the country to Cheltenham, Bath, Cambridge, Aylesbury, Malvern, London (Selfridges; Cadogan Hall), Edinburgh, Canterbury, Coventry, Guildford, Tunbridge Wells and Bristol.

★ Ray Winstone is the latest celeb to be the subject of BAFTA's A Life In Pictures. The event will take place on October 5 – and there are still tickets available for just £15! Winstone’s forthcoming roles include The Gunman, alongside Idris Elba and Sean Penn, and The Legend of Barney Thomson, co-starring with Robert Carlyle and Emma Thompson.

★ Michael C Hall is heading back to Broadway to star in Hedwig And The Angry Inch. Hall will take over the lead role from Andrew Rannells, who took over from Neil Patrick Harris. It will be Hall's first role in a musical since he appeared in Chicago in 2002. His first night is on October 16 and he'll be in the show until January.

Meanwhile, Mad Men (and The West Wing) star Elisabeth Moss is returning to the Great White Way to star in comedy The Heidi Chronicles. She'll be joined in the play by Jason Biggs (yeh, I'm surprised by that one too!). The story follows the title character from her 1960s high school days to her career as an art historian. It's expected to open in March.

★ Morgan Freeman obviously loves having an eclectic CV. This week he's not only signed on to appear in Ted 2 but he's also the first actor confirmed for the remake of Ben Hur. The film's been in the works for a while and Freeman will play Ildarin – the man who teaches Ben Hur to become a chariot racer. The title role hasn't been cast yet but there are reports that the producers are keen to sign up Tom Hiddleston. Filming's due to begin next year.

★ Chevy Chase and his National Lampoon co-star Beverly D'Angelo have had their new TV comedy series picked up by ABC. The show, which is currently untitled, follows a married couple whose golden years are interrupted when they're forced to raise their grandchildren. 

★ Paul Greengrass looks set to work with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill on a new film about the Atlanta Olympics bomb. The film is about Richard Jewell, a security guard who discovered a suspicious backpack during the 1996 games in Atlanta. He helped clear people away from the area but then became a target of the investigation before finally being cleared three months later. Hill will play Jewell with Leo on board as a lawyer who helps him through the situation.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 07/09/2014 - 18:57

By Jenny Priestley

★ Matt Damon, left, is getting busy, with two new films on the horizon. He starts filming Manchester-by-the-Sea with director Kenneth Lonergan this week. The drama follows a Boston plumber with a secret who returns home following the death of his brother. Damon is also due to work with Ridley Scott on The Martian, a film about an astronaut on Mars and his battle to survive. Jessica Chastain and Kristen Wiig are in early talks to join the cast.

Director Werner Herzog has filmed a cameo for the new season of Parks And Recreation. Herzog revealed the news during a Q&A in New York. He told the audience he plays "an elderly guy who sells his decrepit house to the young couple who are the leading characters in this". "I address the audience and I say, ‘You know, I lived in this home for 47 years. And I decided to move out now and sell this because I’m moving to Orlando, Florida, to be close to Disney World.’ I’ve never seen the show, but I hope they kept some of it.”

★ Denzel Washington has decided he wants to be James Bond. The Oscar-winner took part in a Reddit AMA when he was asked if he'd still like to play the super spy and his response was an emphatic yes: “The next James Bond? They better hurry up! Yes I would! Everybody should tweet Denzel is James Bond! Send it to the studio!” he replied. “We start the Denzel is Bond campaign today! James Washington. Denzel Bond!”. On a slightly more serious note, Denzel did reveal he's still hoping to work with Will Smith on a remake of Uptown Saturday Night.

★ Bruce Springsteen is to make his acting debut on the next series of Lilyhammer, which is available on Netflix. The show stars E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Azande as a former mobster relocated to Norway. Bruce will play a mortuary owner in the show. I'm amazed he's never acted before.

★ Rob Brydon and Michelle Gomez are to guest star in a new HBO series starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins. The Brink is about three men trying to stop World War III: the US Secretary of State (Robbins); a lowly Foreign Service officer (Black) and a Navy pilot (Pablo Schreiber). Brydon and Gomez will appear as 'a tight knit, eccentric couple'.

★ Vince Vaughn is to star in The Politician, a comedy about a Washington DC politico who gets caught up in a scandal with some hookers and goes on the run from the FBI, US Marshals and a gang of drug dealers. Michael Dowse directs and the film's producers include Seth Rogen.

Who wants to win afternoon tea with Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott? Get in line!! The actors are donating their time (and tea) to the National Theatre and to win all you have to do is donate £20 before September 16. And if you win, you have to take me as your plus one!

★ Naomi Watts and Jake Gyllenhaal begin filming a new romantic drama in New York next week. They're co-starring in Demolition, the new film from director Jean-Marc Vallee. The story follows a young investment banker struggling with the death of his wife. Suddenly a woman he meets in a chance encounter changes his life forever.

★ Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chiewtel Ejiofor are to star in a remake of the Argentinian thriller The Secrets In Their Eyes. The original was about a retired lawyer trying to get closure on an un solved case; the remake moves the story to the US with Ejiofor as a former MI5 agent. If you haven't seen the original you should seek it out – it has what I think has one of the greatest shots in cinema, which involves the camera flying into a football stadium.

Is Supergirl flying back into our screens? Producer Greg Berlanti, who works on Arrow and The Flash, is developing a new TV series based on the Supergirl story. It's only in development at the moment, so no word yet on casting.

★ Jesse Eisenberg and Shia LaBeouf are in talks to star in a comedy about two stoners turned arms dealers. Arms And The Dudes follows the true story of two stoners from Miami Beach who ended up becoming arms dealers for the US government. Todd Phillips is expected to direct.

Meanwhile, LaBeouf will star alongside Kate Mara and Gary Oldman in psychological thriller Man Down. The story follows an Afghanistan war veteran who attempts to come to terms with his past while searching for his family in a post-apocalyptic America. Filming begins at the end of October.

★ Zac Efton and Robert De Niro are in talks to co-star in the comedy Dirty Grandpa. The film's about a young man who is tricked into driving his grandfather, a perverted former Army general who thinks his grandson is about to marry the wrong woman, to Florida. Dan Mazer directs.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 31/08/2014 - 11:26

By Jenny Priestley

The brilliant Get Smart! creator Mel Brooks (who has also made the odd film or two over the years) is the latest celeb to have his hand and footprints immortalised in cement. The Academy Award-winner will be honoured at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on September 9. Amazingly, the likes of Jennifer Aniston, the cast of the Twilight films and the Harry Potter kids have all been honoured before Brooks. Happily, this is now being corrected!

★ Steve Zahn and Andrea Anders are joining the cast of Modern Family. They will appear in season six as a horrible family who move in next door to the Dunphys. They're expected to appear in early episodes of the new season.

★ Steven Moffat has revealed a few details about series four of Sherlock. Moffat says of the new series: “We have a plan to top [series three]. And I do think our plan is devastating. We’ve practically reduced our cast to tears telling them the plan … we’re probably more excited that we’ve ever been about Sherlock.” 

Meanwhile, Moffat's co-producer Mark Gatiss is returning to Game of Thrones as banker Tycho Nestoris. He'll be back working on season five in Croatia this week.

The unlikeliest casting news of the week has got to be Chris Hemsworth in talks to join the cast of the rebooted National Lampoon's Vacation. The new film, just titled Vacation, will star Ed Helms as Rusty Griswald, the grown son of Clark (Chevy Chase). Hemsworth will play the husband of Rusty's sister, and Christina Applegate will star as Rusty's wife. Filming begins next month.

The always-brilliant David Hyde Pierce is returning to TV after a 10-year break – the former Frasier co-star is joining the cast of The Good Wife for season six. Pierce will appear as a legal pundit who becomes so disgusted by the corruption and murder rate in Chicago that he decides to run for office. Not quite sure how that'll fit into the storyline of the legal drama.

★ Robert Sean Leonard is to star in a new production of To Kill A Mockingbird at the Barbican next summer. The play, which premiered at the Regent's Park Open Theatre last year, will arrive in London following a tour of the UK. To Kill a Mockingbird will run at the Barbican from June 24 to July 25, 2015.

★ Steve Carell and Sienna Miller are bringing Foxcatcher to this year's BFI London Film Festival. The film, which is getting lots of Oscar buzz, will premiere on October 16 with Carell and Miller joining director Bennett Miller on the red carpet. The full line-up for this year's festival is announced on Wednesday.

★ Reese Witherspoon's new film Wild will be released in the UK on January 16. The film, which is rumoured to be screening as part of the LFF, is based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed, who decided to hike for 1,100-miles on her own as a means to get over the end of her marriage, her heroin addiction and the loss of her mother.

★ David Fincher is the latest subject of BAFTA's A Life in Pictures series. The Gone Girl director will discuss his career on September 19. His film, based on Gillian Flynn's novel, is out on October 3.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Mon, 25/08/2014 - 14:17

By Jenny Priestley

Game of Thrones author George RR Martin is working on a one-off story got a new book. It's for a collection of 21 original stories from authors including Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Neil Gaiman and Martin. The book is titled Rogues and Martin's story will follow one of the biggest rogues from the Thrones series. The book is being released on September 15.

Sherlock star Andrew Scott will be at the Apple store on Regent Street on August 28 to promote his new film, Pride. He'll be joined at the event by co-star Faye Marsay. The film's premiere follows on September 2nd at the Odeon Camden.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan and Peter Mullan have joined the voice cast of Jungle Book: Origins. Cumberbatch is voicing the film's villain, Shere Khan, whilst Andy Serkis will play Baloo the bear, and Bale will voice panther Bagheera. Blanchett will play Kaa, a sinister python who is also a friend to Mowgli, while Hollander will play Tabaqui, the jackal who is an underling of Shere Khan. Mullan will be Akela, the leader of the wolf pack that raises Mowgli. Harris is the female wolf Nisha, while Marsan is her mate, Vihaan. Serkis is also directing the film.

Ashley Jensen has been cast in the lead role in a new drama for Sky that sounds a bit more like a comedy. She'll star in Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, a 120 minute drama that will be shown at Christmas on Sky1, with Jensen playing PR turned detective Raisin. “It’s not often a part like this comes along for a woman" says Jensen. "Agatha Raisin is a strong forthright, independent, driven, successful woman, who is both funny and flawed, a real woman of our time.”

Steve Martin looks set for his first film in a few years. He's in talks to star in Magic Camp for Disney, a film he's already helped to write. The story follows a banker who returns to Magic Camp, which he attended as a shy child. This time he's working there and makes it his mission to improve the lives of all the kids while aiming for the top spot at the Golden Wand competition. Martin used to be a magician in real life (something I didn't know).

Bates Motel actor Freddie Highmore is co-writing the script for a new to com TV show. He'll be working with Kerry Ehrin, who is the showrunner on Bates Motel. The show, which is being set up at NBC, is set in the world of venture capitalism and follows the relationship between an overly emotional but talented female executive and her ambitious and eccentric young British assistant. No word yet on whether Highmore will appear in the show.

Rob Brydon is to host the BAFTA Britannia Awards in Los Angeles on October 30. The annual event helps kick off award season and is a celebration of achievements honouring individuals and companies that have dedicated their careers to advancing the entertainment arts. Last year's winners included Kathryn Bigelow, George Clooney, Sacha Baron Cohen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Idris Elba and Sir Ben Kingsley.

Winona Ryder is to star in a new miniseries from David Simon, creator of The Wire. She'll appear alongside Alfred Molina, Jon Bernthal, Oscar Isaac and Catherine Keener in Show Me a Hero. The drama is set in an American city overseen by young, idealistic mayor Nick Wasickso. He's given a federal court order to build low-income housing in a rich part of town which leads to civil disorder and may mean the end of his political career.

A new biography of Robin Williams will be published in the UK in October. Robin Williams 1951-2014: When the Laughter Stops is written by Emily Herbert, who has also written about Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and Matt Smith. The book will look at the late actor's career including both his comedic and dramatic roles.

Sigourney Weaver is joining Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones in the film adaptation of children's fantasy book, A Monster Calls. The story follows a young boy who attempts to deal with bullying and his mother's terminal illness by escaping into a fantastical world thanks to a tree monster. Weaver will play the boy's grandmother, Jones his mother and Neeson the monster. The film's due for release in 2016.

David Yates is expected to return to the world of Harry Potter and is in talks to direct Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. Yates directed the last four Potter films and had a close relationship with both producers Warner Bros and writer JK Rowling, who is currently busy on the film's script. The story is set 70 years before Potter and follows author Newt Scamander, who is commissioned to write a reference guide to the magical beasts found in the Potterverse. The film's due for release in November 2016.

Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage is to appear in a new play off Broadway early next year. He’ll be joined in the production of A Month in the Country by Taylor Schilling from Orange is the New Black who is making her New York stage debut in the show. The play is being directed by Dinklage’s wife, Erica Schmidt. Schilling will play Natalya, the wife of a wealthy landowner, in the 19th century comedy of manners, with Dinklage as her admirer Rakitin. The play will run at the Classic Stage Company from January 9 to February 15.

Mad Men star Elizabeth Moss and Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery are to co-star in psychological thriller, Queen of Earth. The story follows two women who head to a beach house to escape the pressures of the outside world. Although they grew up as best friends, they soon realise they now have little in common. The film's being directed by Alex Ross Perry.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 17/08/2014 - 13:36

By Jenny Priestley

★ Michael C Hall is being lined up to star in a new miniseries based on an unproduced Stanley Kubrick drama. God Fearing Man follows the true story of Canadian minister Herbert Emerson Wilson, who become one of the best safecrackers and most successful American bank robbers in the early 20th century. Hall will star as Wilson and executive produce the drama. The project is now being offered to TV networks.

Yet more big names have joined the cast of forthcoming TV drama, Westworld. The latest additions include Thandie Newton, Miranda Otto and Ed Harris. Filming on the pilot is due to begin this month.

The cast for Mission: Impossible 5 continues to come together. Director Christopher McQuarrie has tweeted that Ving Rhames will return (he had more of a cameo in M:I 4). Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner are all reprising their roles, with Alec Baldwin rumoured to join the cast as well as up-and-coming actress Rebecca Ferguson.

★ Mad Men star Jon Hamm will be at the Apple store on Regent Street this week. He's promoting his new film, Million Dollar Arm, on August 22. Also this week, Daniel Radcliffe is at the store on Monday to discuss his latest film, What If. And on Wednesday, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario and Thomas Brodie-Sangster will be in the store to promote their new film, The Maze Runner.

Dates for your diary: Godzilla 2 has been dated for a June 8, 2018 release in the US (and presumably the UK). Gareth Edwards will return to direct but not until he's visited a galaxy far, far away... Meanwhile, a sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be released on June 3, 2016. The first one gets released in the UK on October 17.

Is Emma Stone heading to Broadway? Lots of rumours she's in talks to replace Michelle Williams in Cabaret. Stone was originally being lined-up when the production was first being out together but had to drop out due to scheduling issues. Williams is due to leave the show in November with Stone's people confirming she is in talks about taking over as Sally Bowles. I saw the show earlier this year and thought Williams did an OK job, but Stone would definitely make me want to see it again!

It's just over a week to the Primetime Emmy Awards in LA. This year's show takes place on a Monday night (no idea why) and is being hosted by Seth Meyers. Halle Berry, Bryan Cranston, Zooey Deschanel, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Woody Harrelson, Adam Levine, Matthew McConaughey, Julianna Margulies, Jim Parsons, Amy Poehler, Julia Roberts, Gwen Stefani, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Lucy Liu, Debra Messing, Andy Samberg and Octavia Spencer have all been confirmed as presenters. Meanwhile, the first set of winners has been announced at the Creative Arts Emmys with Joe Morton, Allison Janney, Jimmy Fallon, Orange is the New Black and Sherlock all picking up prizes.

One Man Lord of the Rings and One Man Star Wars are heading out on a UK tour. The theatre shows are written and performed by Canadian actor Charles Ross. He takes his audience through both trilogies (leaving out the awful Star Wars prequels). The tour kicks off in High Wycombe on September 26 and wraps up in Radlett on October 17.

It's only a couple of weeks until film festival season kicks off with the Venice Film Fest. The event opens with Birdman on August 27 with stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough and Amy Ryan all expected on the red carpet. Other actors due at screenings of their films are Owen Wilson and Imogen Poots for She's Funny That Way, and Al Pacino for Manglehorn. And in case you missed the news, Brad Pitt will walk the red carpet at the London Film Festival when his new film, Fury, screens on October 19.

★ Sharknado 2: The Second One will be released on DVD on November 3.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 10/08/2014 - 12:21

By Jenny Priestley

★ Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schrieber, Aaron Eckhart and Stanley Tucci are to star in a new drama about pedophile priests. The film's called Spotlight and it follows an investigation by the Boston Globe into a cover-up in the Catholic Church that allowed priests to prey on young children for many years. The film's being directed by Tom McCarthy and is due to shoot in Boston and Toronto this autumn.

Did you know that Jeff Bridges was almost cast in Big? He's revealed he was close to winning the role of Josh Baskin but it "didn't quite fit". It's such an iconic role for Tom Hanks that I really can't imagine anyone else playing the part.

It doesn’t matter if you are Hollywood’s It Girl, if your film gets stuck in development hell then there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it. But there’s good news for Jennifer Lawrence as her film The Glass Castle looks to be happening two years after she signed on. The film’s studio says it’s now actively searching for a major actor to co-star in the drama about a young girl raised in a dysfunctional family with an eccentric artist mother and an alcoholic father.

The nominations for the 72nd Golden Globe Awards will be announced at 8am ET/ 2pm UK time on Thursday December 11. The winners themselves will be announced on January 11, 2015. No word yet on the hosts.

★ Simon Pegg will be out and about promoting his new film Hector And The Search For Happiness this week. Pegg will be at the Apple store on Regent Street on August 14 alongside director Peter Chelsom.

Prolific stage and screen actor Roger Allam will be taking to the stage at the Hampstead Theatre later this year. He's starring in a new production of Theresa Rebeck's Seminar. Allam will play the role of Leonard, a former celebrated novelist turned cantankerous editor, teacher and grandstanding chronicler of third-world war zones, who is tasked with mentoring four aspiring young writers. Alan Rickman originated the role in the play's Broadway debut which I was lucky enough to see. No further casting has been announced yet. Seminar opens on October 1.

★ James Marsden has officially joined the cast of new HBO drama Westworld (I told you he was in talks a couple of weeks ago). He's landed the lead role in the drama and will co-star alongside Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Rodrigo Santoro. The show counts JJ Abrams among its executive producers so there's a lot of expectations to shoulder!

★ James Franco is to be presented with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Award at this year's Venice Film Festival. He'll receive the awards before a screening of his latest film, The Sound And The Fury. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory award is given to an individual who makes “an original contribution to innovation in contemporary cinema”. Previous winners include Spike Lee, Takeshi Kitano and Sylvester Stallone. The ceremony takes place on September 5.

Not content with starring as Nick Fury, Samuel L Jackson has signed up to play The Black Phantom. The comedy follows an odd partnership between a clever double-crossed mob hitman, played by Kevin Hart, and the notorious hit man The Black Phantom, who has been hired to kill him. Jamie Foxx was originally cast as the Phantom but dropped out due to scheduling reasons. Tim Story directs.

★ Naomie Harris is to co-star with Jake Gyllenhaal is his next movie. Harris will play a social worker in Southpaw, which stars Gyllenhaal as a boxing champion whose personal life is falling apart despite his professional success. Antoine Fuqua directs.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 03/08/2014 - 14:12

By Jenny Priestley

Who wants to spend a night out with Sir Michael Caine? Well you can do just that at London's Royal Albert Hall on October 1. The event is in aid of NSPCC and will feature Sir Michael being interviewed by Jonathan Ross. It will also include clips from some of his best loved films as well as music performed live by the London Symphony Orchestra. Tickets go on sale on August 5.

★ Bill Murray is to voice Baloo the bear in a new version of The Jungle Book. Disney is producing the live action/animation combination which is being directed by Jon Favreau. The voice cast also includes Christopher Walken as King Louie, Ben Kingsley as the panther Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as Mowgli’s wolf moth Raksha and Idris Elba as Shere Khan. The film’s due in cinemas in October 2015.

★ The Muppets are back in a brand new digital series which is available online. The six-part series is called Disney Drive-On With The Muppets and episodes are being released every Friday in August. The series features Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie and the gang meeting famous faces on the Disney lot in Burbank, California. The first episode sees Pepe the Prawn left in charge of the Muppets’ office.

★ Bridesmaids director Paul Feig is being lined up to direct Ghostbusters 3 – and it's expected to be a reboot focusing on female 'busters. Nothing's been confirmed yet, apparently Sony hasn't even stated negotiations, but it's exciting news for those of us who've been writing (and reading) about a possible new Ghostbusters film for years. Anyone else think Melissa McCarthy would be a shoe-in?

★ Jackie Chan is coming to London. The action star is taking part in the BFI's five-month long Century of Chinese Cinema Season. He'll appear at a screening of his film Chinese Zodiac on August 12, followed by a Q&A.

★ John Goodman and Helen Mirren look set to star with Bryan Cranston in the new film from director Jay Roach. Trumbo is about screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted after refusing to testify in front of the Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. He was able to continue working using pseudonyms – winning two Oscars in the process. Cranston will star as Trumbo with Goodman in talks to play film producer Frank King, who worked with Trumbo despite his blacklisting. Mirren looks set to play the film's "villain" – gossip columnist Hedda Hopper – who targeted Trumbo and supported his blacklisting.

Former Doctor Who star Peter Davidson [aka the Fifth Doctor] will be taking to the stage as part of a new production of David Hare's The Vertical Hour. The play is being staged at the Park Theatre from September 25. The plot sees two people with opposing political views come together over a weekend in Shropshire, and "pits personal philosophies against global politics".

★ William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Karl Urban, Bruce Greenwood, Jonathan Frakes, Nichelle Nichols and Brent Spiner are some of the former Star Trek cast members who'll be in London later this year. They're among the stars appearing at Destination Star Trek 3 at London's Excel from October 3-5. Leonard Nimoy will also appear via video feed.

Hot on the heels of last weekend's first image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, a new book all about Diana Prince and her alter-ego will be released later this year. The Secret History of Wonder Woman tells the story of the character, as well as the life of her creator William Moulton Marston and the real-life heroines who inspired him. The book, by Jill Lepore, is scheduled for release in December.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 27/07/2014 - 15:14

By Jenny Priestley

The first one's not even out yet, but Marvel has announced a release date for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. James Gunn will return to write and direct the sequel, which is due for release on July 28, 2017. The first film arrives in cinemas in the UK and US this Friday and it absolutely rocks!

Marvel's also been busy putting the finishing touches to the forthcoming Ant-Man movie. The film's problems (aka Edgar Wright dropping out) have been well documented. Wright had also been followed off the film by cast members Matt Gerald, Kevin Weismann and Patrick Wilson. However, there is some good news for fans – Evangeline Lilly and Corey Stoll have now joined the cast. Lilly will play Hope Pym, the daughter of Michael Douglas's character, while Stoll has been signed up to play the film's baddie, Yellowjacket.

Meanwhile, Edgar Wright is busy lining up two new projects. He's expected to direct Baby Driver for Working Title which is described as "a collision between crime, action, music and sound", which I would say would be right up his street. He's also set to make Grasshopper Jungle, a coming-of-age story that focuses on an Iowa teen who manages to unleash a deadly genetically engineered plague that leads to an army of six-foot-tall praying mantises. He signed on to the project after being approached by the writer on social media.

Marvel is launching a new set of Star Wars comics set just after the end of A New Hope. Marvel has taken over the licence for Star Wars comics and plan to launch the new titles in January. The story is set a couple of weeks after the destruction of the Death Star and sees Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 still trying to size one another up. 

Very exciting news for all Lord of the Rings fans: Peter Jackson has revealed he has yet more footage that he might release in a further-extended version of the story. "There are a few scenes that haven’t been seen from Lord Of The Rings, but not many," he revealed at Comic-Com. "We might try to put them back in. It’s a big logistical thing which haven’t wrapped our heads around. But if there’s enough interest…". Trust me Pete, there's interest!!

★ Jonathan Pryce is among the new members of the Game of Thrones cast. He'll be playing the High  Sparrow in season five – fans of the books will know he's a devout and pious man. Other new cast members include Keisha Castle-Hughes as Obara Sand, daughter of Prince Oberyn. Castle-Hughes is probably best known for her Oscar-nominated role in the 2003 film Whale Rider.

★ George Clooney and Jodie Foster are teaming up on a new thriller. Foster will direct and Clooney will star in Money Monster. The film follows a TV pundit who is taken hostage live on air by a man who followed his advice on the stock market. The hostage-taker threatens to kill Clooney’s character if the cameras are turned off. Filming is expected to begin in the spring.

★ Michael Caine is to co-star with Vin Diesel in the supernatural action film The Last Witch Hunter. The story follows Diesel’s witch hunter who joins forces with his enemy, a female witch, to stop a plague on humanity unleashed by the covens of New York City. Game of Thrones' Ygritte, Rose Leslie, co-stars.

★ Alan Alda, Amy Ryan and Eve Hewson (aka Bono's daughter) are expected to join the cast of Steven Spielberg's next film. The Cold War thriller will star Tom Hanks as an attorney who finds himself at the centre of the Cold War when the CIA sends him to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Filming's due to begin in September. 

★ Ed Helms, Hilary Swank and Ed Harris are expected to star in a new TV drama from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. One Percent follows a husband and wife struggling to keep their organic farm from going under. Harris is expected to play the family patriarch.

Meanwhile, Anthony Hopkins is headed to TV signing on for the pilot of new HBO drama, Westworld. Evan Rachel Wood has also been cast in the drama which is "inspired by" Michael Crichton's story about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin. James Marsden is also in talks to join the cast.

★ Andy Samberg and Kit Harrington are to play rival tennis stars in a new mockumentary. They'll be joined in the comedy by Lena Dunham, Karen Gillan, Michael Sheen, Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Mary Steenburgen and June Squibb. Samberg is expected to play a superstar bad boy while Harrington's character will be more "Andy Murray-esque". I can't wait to see it!

★ Denzel Washington and Will Ferrell will be picking up special awards later this summer. Washington is being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's San Sebastián Film Festival. Washington's new film The Equalizer is opening the annual event on September 19. Ferrell is being honoured by the Deauville Film Festival in France for his comedic work. Jessica Chastain and James Cameron are also being feted at the festival, which runs September 5 to 15.

Fresh from his guest appearances with the Pythons last weekend, Eddie Izzard will appear at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. He's co-hosting a special gig alongside Dylan Moran which will showcase some of Europe's best comics. Comedy Sans Frontiers will take place at the Pleasance Courtyard on August 5. It's a one night only event so book now if you want to go!  

The stars of The Inbetweeners will be at the Apple Store on Regent Street this week to promote their forthcoming film. Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas will be at the event on July 31. They'll also walk the red carpet at the world premiere of The Inbetweeners 2 on August 5.

★ Robert Pattinson will also be at the Apple store on August 7 to promote his new film, The Rover.

★ David Duchovny is turning author with the publication of a novel next year. Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale follows Elsie Bovary, a cow who sees a television programme about an industrial meat farm. She joins forces with Jerry, a cranky, Torah-reading pig known as Shalom after his recent conversion to Judaism, and Tom, a turkey who can’t fly but can work an iPhone with his beak. It sounds like a lot of fun! The book will be published in the UK and US in February.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 20/07/2014 - 13:54

By Jenny Priestley

Could Neil Patrick Harris be joining the cast of American Horror Story: Freak Show? Well it seems possible after NPH revealed he would love to appear on the show and creator Ryan Murphy replied he has a role that would be perfect for the former How I Met Your Mother star. Harris revealed in an interview with American radio that he has written to Murphy asking if he can be on the show, Murphy then tweeted him saying: "Of course you can be on Freak Show. I have a role I think you'll love." The ball's now firmly in NPH's court.

★ The Hobbit actress Evangeline Lilly is turning author with the release of her debut children's book, The Squickerwonkers. The story follows Selma of the Rin-Run Royals as she wanders into a carnival ride and meets a clan of travelling marionette puppets. The book's been illustrated by WETA's Johnny Fraser-Allen – head over to evangelinelilly.com for a preview, it looks beautiful. The book also has a foreword by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens (along with illustrations of the three). It's out in the US in November.

Two new films about the life of JRR Tolkien look set to do battle for our bucks. Fox Searchlight is working on Tolkien, which is currently in the writing stage. Meanwhile, a British production company has hired director Simon West to take on Tolkien & Lewis about the relationship between Tolkien and his friend and contemporary CS Lewis. West, whose last film was Expendables 2, seems a strange choice of director to me – especially as the film is apparently going after a "faith-based" audience. Anyone else reckon Ian McKellen could be a good Tolkien? No? Just me then...

It's going to start getting very busy for Oscar watchers over the next few weeks. The autumn film festival circuit is really hotting up with lots of anticipated films premiering around the world. Toronto is due to announce some of its key films on Tuesday, while Venice announces its line-up on July 24. Meanwhile, New York has stolen a march on both by announcing it's opening with the world premiere of David Fincher's Gone Girl, and then added insult to injury by revealing it's also got Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice. Personally, I'm starting to get excited for early September when we find out what London has in store for us. 

★ John Hannah and Suranne Jones will attend a preview of the new series of Touch of Cloth at the BFI on July 29. They'll be joined by series creator Charlie Brooker at the event which will launch the third series of the Sky One comedy. Karen Gillan joins the cast for the new series (but she won't be at the screening).

I've been going on about All The Way a lot in recent columns – it's the Broadway play starring Bryan Cranston as former US president Lyndon Johnson. It's being turned into a TV film which will be produced by Steven Spielberg and now it's been announced HBO have brought the rights to broadcast it in the US. 

★ Some more details of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's first film together in almost 10 years have been revealed. It's called By The Sea and Angelina is also taking on writing and directing duties. Not a lot's known about the plot, although it seems it will focus on a couple's relationship.

★ Robert Vaughn, Robert Powell, Celia Imrie and James Fleet will be appearing at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. They're all due to make guest appearances in the play Forgotten Voices. Taken from the Imperial War Museum’s oral testimonies of the veterans of World War I, the play includes accounts of battle and its terrible aftermath recited by the actors. Julian Sands and Christopher Timothy are also due to appear in the play, which is on at Pleasance Courtyard from July 30 to August 25.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 13/07/2014 - 13:58

By Jenny Priestley

★ Guillermo Del Toro's new TV series will be broadcast in the UK. The drama The Strain, which stars David Bradley, Sean Astin and Corey Stoll, has been bought by UKTV. The vampire-horror is based on the books by Del Toro and Chuck Hogan and debuted in the US this week. The show is expected to debut on Watch in the autumn.

★ Jon Hamm, Kevin Hart, Sarah Silverman, Danny McBride and Josh Gad look set to join Zach Galifianakis in a remake of The Incredible Mr Limpet. The project is being directed by Richard Linklater – definitely a change from his current film, Boyhood. Galifianakis is expected to star as Larry Limpet, a beach bum trying to save the fish population. When he's turned into a fish, Limpet sets out on an adventure to save his town and the sea world.

This year's Venice Film Festival will open with Birdman, starring Michael Keaton. The film also features Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough and Naomi Watts and is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The story follows an actor struggling to stage a Broadway show. The trailer looks great and I'm hoping this will be included in this year's London Film Festival as well!

A few details about the fourth season of Homeland have begun to surface. As fans of the show know, Damian Lewis won't be back as Brody which means producers are taking the opportunity to shake up the show. Season four will see Carrie (Claire Danes) working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi) is joining the cast as a medical student while Corey Stoll (he gets everywhere) will be playing a CIA station chief in Islamabad.

The cast for season two of True Detective looks to be taking shape with Colin Farrell and Taylor Kitsch expected to take two of the lead roles. More casting is expected to be announced this week.

I am already far too excited about Ian McKellen as Mr Holmes and now the film's added some great actors to its supporting cast. Roger Allam, Hattie Morahan, Phil Davies and Frances de la Tour will also appear in the film which follows Sherlock Holmes at the age of 93. It's being directed by Bill Condon who previously worked with McKellen on Gods And Monsters.

Fan of super cars? To mark the DVD release of Need For Speed, a range of super cars are to tour the UK. Six supercars will go head-to-head during the two day stint, where fans will be encouraged to vote for their favourite, ensuring their chosen supercar has the most retweets/votes by the time the convoy hits London. The ‘convoy winner’ will be unveiled at a secret London location. The even kicks off at Liverpool’s Albert Docks on Wednesday July 16 before moving on to Manchester (MediaCity), Birmingham (M6 Toll) and Warwickshire (PRODRIVE racetrack) and finishes on Thursday 17th July. Find out more via @NeedForSpeed_UK.

★ Robert Redford is to play legendary US newsman Dan Rather in a new film. Truth will also star Cate Blanchett and it follows the scandal that erupted after Rather reported on his news programme, 60 Minutes II, that George W Bush had been given preferential treatment that put him in the National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War draft. The ensuing scandal during Bush’s reelection campaign ended with the show's producer being fired and Rather’s reputation in tatters. The film's being made by first-time director James Vanderbilt.

Hands up if you haven't been cast in the Coen Brothers' new film? The cast list for Hail, Casear! is becoming so epic it seems easier to talk about who hasn't been given a role. George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum have already been cast and now it looks like they're being joined by Scarlett Johansson and Jonah Hill.

Meanwhile, the cast for Mission: Impossible 5 is starting to take shape. Alec Baldwin is being lined up to play the head of the CIA and Rebecca Ferguson is expected to play the female lead. You may not know Ferguson that well, she played the lead in the BBC's adaptation of The White Queen

A new film about Nic Cave (right) will have a gala premiere at London's Barbican Hall on September 17. The preview of 20,000 Days on Earth will also be broadcast into 150 cinemas around the UK. The event will  include a live performance by Cave and a Q&A with the film's directors, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard

★ Richard Ayoade and Jemaine Clement are among the speakers at this year's Behind The Screens talks as part of Film 4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. Ayoade will take guests on a guided tour of his cinematic inspirations and influences ahead of one of his favourite films, The 400 Blows. Flight of the Conchords star Clement will join comedian Taika Waititi to talk about their careers in comedy as well as their vampire mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows.

Well it doesn't look like Ryan Gosling is giving up his acting career for fatherhood just yet. He's expected to star opposite Russell Crowe in The Nice Guys, directed by Shane Black. The story follows a private eye investigating the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles who uncovers a conspiracy. Sounds a bit like LA Confidential to me.

Fans of Game of Thrones, you may have heard that creator George RR Martin has said the TV series could end with a big-budget film. Speaking at a film festival in Europe this week, Martin said if the show continues to do well the it could transfer to the big screen to round things off. But now HBO bosses have said there have been no discussions about the idea and they're committed to continuing with the show on TV. So we'll see what happens.

★ Watership Down is being turned into a new animated series by the BBC. The classic story following a group if rabbits forced to leave their warren and search for a new home is expected to broadcast in a "family-friendly" slot on BBC One.

If you're off to the San Diego Comic Con later this month, then I hate you. The TV line-up is looking great, but the film lime-up has me very excited – not least because there are a lot of rumours around a certain Benedict Cumberbatch and the Marvel panel. Plus, Peter Jackson will be previewing The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (squeal). Do you think I can persuade Stuart to send me over?

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