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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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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 06/07/2014 - 14:23

By Jenny Priestley

★ Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg and Amanda Abbington are among the guests taking part in this year's Hertford Children's Book Festival. Charlie Higson, David Baddiel and Emma Kennedy (left) will also take part in the annual event which starts on October 2. This year's festival is being co-organised by Pegg's wife, Maureen, which may explain how they're managing to attract such big names...

★ Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan are expected on the red carpet at the UK premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy. The gala screening takes place at the Empire in Leicester Square on July 24.

Award-winning novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce is to write an episode of Doctor Who. The episode will feature a number of child actors including Harley Bird, the voice of Peppa Pig (one for the parents there). Meanwhile, the BBC has announced the world premiere of Peter Capaldi's debut as the Doctor will take place in Cardiff on August 7. Both Capaldi and Jenna Colman will be at the event with tickets going on sale on Monday July 7 from St David's Hall box office. The premiere takes place two weeks before the episode's TV debut and kicks off a worldwide publicity tour which will see Capaldi and Colman travel the world promoting the show. 

Talking of Doctor Who, Colman, Steven Moffat, John Hurt, Bernard Cribbins and Paul McGann will be at the London Film and Comic Con next weekend. Moffat, Hurt and McGann will take part in a special talk as part of the event. Other actors due to attend include Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee  Williams, David Wenham, Adam Brown and Pedro Pascal. Also expected is none other than the Marvel man himself, Stan Lee.

★ Tina Fey is to work with the directors of Crazy, Stupid, Love on her next project. John Requa and Glenn Ficarra will direct The Taliban Shuffle, which Fey is producing and starring in. The story follows journalist Kim Barker, who was sent to cover the Middle East in 2002 and had to deal with being a woman in that male-dominated culture. 

★ Hunger Games co-stars Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson are teaming up for the revenge action thriller By Way of Helena. The story follows David, an 1880s Texas Ranger sent to an isolated frontier town to investigate a series of mysterious murders. There he faces off against a local preacher named Abraham who holds the townsfolk in a fearful grip. The film's being directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith and production is due to begin in September.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 29/06/2014 - 15:56

By Jenny Priestley

★ Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin has revealed a few details about what fans can expect from the next book, The Winds of Winter. SPOILER: Martin says the book will start with two huge battles and feature "more deaths, we have more betrayals. And we have more marriages." Yes, because weddings in Westeros always go so well. Martin's also teased a possible encounter between Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys. Anyway, still no word on when the new book will be released. 

★ Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley and James Corden will be promoting their new film, Begin Again, in London this week. They'll be at the Apple Store on Regent Street on July 2 to discuss the film, which tells the story of a washed-up music executive and a young singer/songwriter. Begin Again is out on July 11.

★ Tim Minchin is to star in a new drama for Australian TV. He's signed on to appear in The Secret River, which is being made by the ABC. The mini-series, which will be made up of two 90-minute episodes, is about a 19th-century Englishman sent to Australia after being found guilty of theft. The lead role is being played by British actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen. No word yet on what role Minchin is playing.

★ Mad Men star John Slattery will be at the BFI in London on August 4 to discuss his new film, God's Pocket. The dark comedy stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Christina Hendricks and Eddie Marsan. The film is Slattery's directorial debut and follows Mickey, whose stepson is killed by an industrial accident and Mickey tries to bury the news alongside the body. The BFI also hopes that Hendricks will attend the screening.

A few details about the next Star Trek film have started to surface. Director Robert Orci, who takes over from JJ Abrams, has revealed the storyline will follow the Enterprise crew into Deep Space. "In this movie they are closer to the original series characters that you have ever seen," Orci says. "They have set off on their five-year mission. So their adventure is going to be in deep space." No word yet on release date for the film, but as 2016 is Trek's 50th anniversary, I wouldn't rule out seeing it then.

This makes me happy: Peanuts is coming back! We know there's going to be a new film next year and now publisher Canongate has announced that it is launching a new gift book series called Peanuts Guide to Life in September. It will contain The Philosophy of Snoopy, The Wisdom of Woodstock, The Genius of Charlie Brown and Life Lessons from Lucy. A further eight titles will follow in 2015. The books will be made up of Charles Schulz's original strips.

More things that make me happy: Morph will be back this week! Aardman Animation is launching a series of brand new Morph adventures on its YouTube channel this Friday, July 4. Fifteen new Morph episodes have been paid for by the public via KickStarter, with the first going live at 5.15pm on Friday, the same time as Morph's first appearance on Take Hart in 1977 (anyone else feeling really old right now?).

In case you haven't heard, the brand new series of Doctor Who will begin on BBC One on August 23, a full year after Peter Capaldi was revealed as the new Doctor. The series will begin with a feature-length episode titled Deep Breath. Meanwhile, executive producer Steven Moffatt has confirmed there'll be a ninth series of the show. He's working on the penultimate episode of the next series at the moment. Hopefully that means we'll start to see proper series again rather one-offs with huge gaps between them.

As always, it looks as though the Coen Brothers are lining up some of Hollywood's best acting talent for their latest film, Hail Caeser. The film is expected to star George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum. The story is expected to focus on a Hollywood "fixer" hired to keep a studio's wayward stars in check. The Coens, that cast and a film about Hollywood ... can't wait!!

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 22/06/2014 - 14:21

By Jenny Priestley

Lots of filmy celebs will be in London over the next few weeks promoting their new movies. Director Eli Roth will be at the Apple Store on Regent Street on June 23 to discuss his latest film, Green Inferno. Then on June 30 Noel Clarke will be at the same venue to promote his new film Anomaly, which also stars Ian Somerhalder. If that's enough for you, Robert Pattinson will be in town on August 6 to attend a special screening of his new film, The Rover, alongside co-star Guy Pearce (left). The screening takes place at the BFI Southbank and tickets go on sale on July 8.

Shakespeare's Globe's recent production of Macbeth is being screened in UK cinemas from June 25. I was lucky enough to see the production last year and if you missed it then I highly recommend a cinema viewing (plus you won't get rained on like we did). The play stars Joseph Millson in the lead role alongside Samantha Spiro as Lady Macbeth and Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd as Banquo.

★ You may have missed the big Star Wars news: Rian Johnson is to write and direct Episode VIII. His previous films include Brick and Looper, both of which starred Joseph Gordon Levitt (just putting that out there) ...

If like me you haven't yet invested in Netflix, here are some reasons you might soon be changing your mind. First, chat show host Chelsea Handler has signed a deal to launch a new show for the online video service that will debut in 2016. Plus, Netflix has given the green light to a new scifi series from Andy and Lana Wachowski. Sense8 is about eight people around the world who are connected by telepathy. Former Doctor Who star Freema Agyeman, Daryl Hannah and Naveen Andrews are among the cast.

★ Rosario Dawson is joining the cast of the new Daredevil TV series which is being made by, you guessed it, Netflix. She joins Brit Charlie Cox, who will play Matt Murdock/Daredevil in the show.

And finally in this week's episode of "Netflix News", Martin Sheen has joined the cast of new comedy Grace and Frankie. Sheen will play Robert, the husband of Jane Fonda's character, Grace. Lily Tomlin will play Frankie.

What do Daniel Radcliffe, Sofia Vergara, Snoopy and Kool and the Gang have in common? They're among the celebs who'll be receiving stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2015. Other honourees include Will Ferrell, Jim Parsons, Pharell Williams and Peter Jackson (hurrah!).

Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno is being honoured with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour. He'll be presented with the annual award at a ceremony at the Kennedy Centre in Washington on October 17. Former winners include Tina Fey, Billy Crystal and Ellen Degeneres.

He's tackled Facebook, the White House and rolling news channels and now Aaron Sorkin is turning his attention to Wall Street. He's in negotiations to adapt non-fiction book Flash Boys into a new film for Sony. The book deals with high-frequency trading on Wall Street and how to rig the system, which seems right up Sorkin's alley if you ask me.

Former Harry Potter star Rupert Grint is to make his Broadway debut alongside Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. He's joined the cast of their new show, It's Only A Play. Other cast members include Megan Mullally, F Murray Abraham and Stockard Channing. The play opens in New York on October 9.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 08/06/2014 - 13:38

By Jenny Priestley 

★ Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams (left), who plays Arya Stark, has been named among this year's crop of Screen International's Stars of Tomorrow. The young actress, who's just 17, appears in the list alongside the likes of Olivia Cooke from Bates Motel, Taron Egerton, who we'll see alongside Colin Firth in Kingsman: The Secret Service and Eleanor Tomlinson, currently filming the BBC's new version of Poldark. The annual list is out together by industry experts and has previously included the likes of James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston and Emilia Clarke.

The line-up for the second We Love the 90s Film Fest in London has been announced with the event taking place next month. Among the films being shown are Boyz in the Hood, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas and Muriel's Wedding. The outdoor screenings take place at the Portobello pop-up cinema from July 25 to August 3.

★ God's Pocket, directed by Mad Men star John Slattery, will arrive in UK cinemas on August 8. The dark comedy stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Christina Hendricks and Eddie Marsan. The film is Slattery's directorial debut and follows Mickey, whose stepson is killed by an industrial accident and Mickey tries to bury the news alongside the body.

So it looks as though we finally have a new Ant-Man director, with Peyton Reed replacing Edgar Wright. Adam McKay – who some of the trades were saying was the favourite to get the gig – has come on board to work on the script. I'm not at all sure about Reed. His previous films include Yes Man, The Break Up and Bring It On. It feels as though the end product could be more of a broad comedy than a traditional comic book movie. We shall have to wait and see....

Meanwhile, Marvel is said to be eyeing up Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hardy for the new Doctor Strange movie. Sinister director Scott Derrickson will be in charge of the film.

★ Hellboy star Ron Perlman will be at the opening night of this year's East End Film Festival on June 13th. The actor stars in the festival's opening film, Dermaphoria, and will take part in a Q&A after the screening. This year's festival runs until June 25th.

★ Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal has been signed up to star in Narcos, a new drama for Netflix. Pascal played Prince Oberyn Martell in the HBO drama and if you watch the show you'll know he has a bit of free time now... Anyway, the new show is about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and the DEA agent who tracked him down.

★ Naomi Watts and Daniel Dae Kim have joined the cast of Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent. Watts will be playing the pivotal role of Evelyn, leader of the factionless. They joins Shailene Woodley and Theo James, who will be back as Tris and Four. New members of the cast also include Octavia Spencer and Suki Waterhouse.

Could Denzel Washington be set to star in a remake of The Magnificent Seven? Apparently MGM wants the Oscar winner to reteam with director Antoine Fuqua on the project. Nothing's official yet though.

★ Al Pacino will take part in a Q&A event at BFI Southbank later this year. The Oscar-winning actor will discuss his two films, Salome and Wilde Salome, at the screening on September 21. The films and talk we be broadcast in cinemas around the UK and hosted by Stephen Fry.

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