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The Liberator screens as part of the 23rd Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival on Sunday, November 23 at 6 Pm at Landmark’s Tivoli Theatre. For ticket information go here
For any film fans nostalgic for the kind of sweeping, historical epic that Cecil B. DeMille and William Wyler created for the big, Big screen, than look no further than this work from Venezuelan director Alberto Avelo. It’s the story of South American hero, Simon Bolivar (Edgar Ramirez). When we first meet the man, he’s on the run from assassins after re-uniting with his lover/ freedom-fighting partner Manuela (Juana Acosta). But what led him to this point? Flashback to his visit to the court of Spain several years before. The plantation owner from across the Atlantic bests the King and romances future wife Maria (Maria Valverde). But when the newlyweds return to his homeland, things have changed. The »
- Jim Batts
'Henry V' Movie Actress Renée Asherson dead at 99: Laurence Olivier leading lady in acclaimed 1944 film (image: Renée Asherson and Laurence Olivier in 'Henry V') Renée Asherson, a British stage actress featured in London productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Three Sisters, but best known internationally as Laurence Olivier's leading lady in the 1944 film version of Henry V, died on October 30, 2014. Asherson was 99 years old. The exact cause of death hasn't been specified. She was born Dorothy Renée Ascherson (she would drop the "c" some time after becoming an actress) on May 19, 1915, in Kensington, London, to Jewish parents: businessman Charles Ascherson and his second wife, Dorothy Wiseman — both of whom narrowly escaped spending their honeymoon aboard the Titanic. (Ascherson cancelled the voyage after suffering an attack of appendicitis.) According to Michael Coveney's The Guardian obit for the actress, Renée Asherson was "scantly educated »
- Andre Soares
Timur Bekmambetov is amassing quite the cast for his Ben-Hur remake. He’s already got Jack Huston set to lead as the title character, Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince who’s wrongly accused of harming a governor and sold into slavery with Morgan Freeman stepping in as Ildarin, the man responsible for training him to become a top chariot racer. Toby Kebbell will portray the film’s villain, Messala, Ben-Hur’s former best friend who’s responsible for manipulating the aforementioned accident to make Ben-Hur look guilty. Now there are reports claiming that both Game of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s Gal Gadot are in the mix as well. Hit the jump to find out more about who they may be playing. The Ben-Hur remake is set for a February 26, 2016 release and is expected to go into production in Europe in early 2015. According to THR, »
- Perri Nemiroff
Future Wonder Woman Gal Gadot and Game Of Thrones star Pedro Pascal have joined the cast of Timur Bekmambetov’s remake of the classic Ben Hur. The film, which is in pre-production over at MGM and Paramount, will also star Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, and Morgan Freeman with Huston playing the title role.
Gadot will play the female lead in the film, thogh we know little more than that. Bekmambetov directs the film, which will star production next year for a February 2016 release.
Source: Various »
- Paul Heath
This morning, we heard news that MGM’s remake of the 1959 swords-n-sandals epic, Ben-Hur, had nearly bagged itself a leading lady. Wonder Woman Gal Gadot might be signing on the dotted line to join a cast that so far, consists entirely of chaps. And now we can add another bloke to the ever-expanding call sheet, as Game Of Thrones star Pedro Pascal is also in negotiations for a juicy role.
Earlier this year, Pascal fought valiantly as Oberyn Martell in season four of HBO’s medieval fantasy series. His showiest moment alas came during his last scene, as he fought the hulking monstrosity known as The Mountain. He was an immensely likeable character and it’s a shame we won’t see him return to Westeros. However, if he signs on for Ben-Hur, he’ll still be kitted out in the finest period garb as he’s slated to play Pontius Pilate. »
- Gem Seddon
Exclusive: Pedro Pascal, who made an indelible impression on the last season of HBO’s Game Of Thrones, is in talks to play Pontius Pilate in the Timur Bekmambetov-directed Ben-Hur remake at MGM and Paramount. In Game Of Thrones, Pascal played Oberyn Martell (also called the Red Viper of Dorne), who volunteered to fight a death battle in the arena to win the freedom of accused king killer Tyrion Lannister. The Viper engaged in battle with The Mountain, a brutish warrior who years before had raped and murdered Oberyn’s sister. Oberyn had the brute dead to rights, but got a little careless and too close, and ended up on the wrong end of The Mountain’s crushing grip. But Pascal stayed around long enough to make a strong impression.
- Mike Fleming Jr
Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the American Film Institute’s Board of Trustees, announced today the Board’s decision to honor Steve Martin with the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film. The award will be presented to Martin at a gala tribute in Los Angeles, CA on June 4, 2015.
The 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award tribute special will return for its third year on TNT when it airs in June 2015, followed by encore presentations on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
“Steve Martin is an American original,” said Stringer. “From a wild and crazy stand-up comic to one who stands tall among the great figures in this American art form, he is a multi-layered creative force bound by neither convention nor caution. His work is defined by him alone, for he is the author – and a national treasure whose work has stuck with us »
- Melissa Thompson
Steve Martin has been named recipient of the highly prestigious AFI Life Achievement Award to be presented June 4th and aired on TNT and later on sister network TCM. After generally reserving this coveted prize to actors and directors who made their mark in dramatic films this is second time in the past three years that the American Film Institute has decided to lighten things up by giving their award to a person who made their mark in comedy. And it has paid off. Mel Brooks got the honor in 2013 and it resulted not only in a hilarious and memorable evening, it got higher ratings and brought the AFI special its first Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special in August. But Martin is the first recipient who actually started and made their reputation as a stand up comic. And his films beginning with The Jerk and continuing with such modern comedy »
- Pete Hammond
Audrey Hepburn conspires with her Roman Holiday director William Wyler for this sparkling crime caper. She plays the daughter of an art forger who needs the services of Peter O'Toole's gentleman thief to steal one of her father's fakes from a museum. The performances are charming - naturally - but the film's audacious and elaborate heist really puts the cherry on top. »
The Timur Bekmambetov-directed new version will follow the book much closer than the Charlton Heston-led previous (and iconic) film adaptation in 1959. John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave") is penning the script and recently spoke with Coming Soon about the project and how it will differ from the William Wyler classic:
"It's going to be different in the sense that the original writer Keith Clarke wrote an amazing script and then went back to the Lew Wallace novel and really excavated the relationship between the two main characters, Ben-Hur and Messala.
It's interesting to a degree. It's kind of like going after Jimi Hendrix, because there are things about the 1959 movie that we think we remember, there are things that really happened, including obviously the chariot race, »
- Garth Franklin
Quirky is possibly the best word to describe Emma Thompson‘s BAFTA Screenwriters’ Lecture, hilariously delivered tonight in London. It included a physical demonstration of her writing process; pearls of wisdom shared with the filmmaker attendees; and an anecdote about how a period sketch she wrote featuring a Victorian-era virgin encountering a penis led to her penning Sense And Sensibility.
The event, a Thompson-directed variation on a regular series of screenwriter conversations, continued a mini-season of high-wattage names visiting the British Academy, which started with James Schamus on Thursday and David Fincher on Friday. And Thompson tapped her acting and sketch comedy background to give the sell-out crowd a good show.
She was already on stage as the audience started filing in, dressed down in denim overalls and a thick navy coat so that few noticed her at first. She sat barefoot at a tiny writing desk, and in between scribbling on a notepad, »
- Joe Utichi, Special To Deadline
Catching up with some stories we've missed of late.
Morgan Freeman was the first cast member announced for the remake of Best Picture winning Ben-Hur (1959) which was itself a remake of the silent epic of the same name in 1925. Freeman will play the role of a wise old man who gives advice like a Pez Dispenser with Morgan Freeman's face on it. Can Morgan Freeman do anything else? Shame that a once very gifted actor now plays Exactly the same role in everything. Maybe he doesn't care to stretch? Jack Huston of Boardwalk Empire fame (who seems to be in the running for everything these days -even if he hasn't booked the high profile stuff until now) will play the lead Charlton Heston role. But good luck trying to best William Wyler's Oscar winning classic (one of 'em rather). I shudder to think how they'll handle Messala, »
- NATHANIEL R
Jack Huston cast in 'Ben-Hur' remake? 'Boardwalk Empire' actor to follow in the footsteps of Ramon Novarro and Charlton Heston Jack Huston, best known for playing World War I veteran-turned-bootlegger-cum-assassin Richard Harrow in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, may star in the latest Ben-Hur "remake," to be jointly produced by Paramount and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. I have "remake" between quotes because officially this fourth big-screen version of the semi-biblical epic (more on that below) isn't an actual remake of either the multiple Oscar-winning 1959 Ben-Hur or its 1925 predecessor, but a direct adaptation of former Civil War general Lew Wallace's 1880 bestselling novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, which happens to be conveniently in the public domain. Timur Bekmambetov, whose credits include the Angelina Jolie-James McAvoy thriller Wanted and the supernatural cult classic Night Watch, has been attached as director of what is in fact A Tale »
- Andre Soares
Jack Huston is your new "Ben-Hur." The "Boardwalk Empire" star has been set to play the title role in MGM and Paramount's upcoming remake, according to Deadline. Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted") is set to direct the epic film, in which Morgan Freeman was previously cast as Ildarin, the man who trains Ben-Hur to become a champion chariot racer. As we reported last month, Tom Hiddleston had previously been eyed for the lead role. Best known for his role as masked hitman Richard Harrow on the HBO crime drama, Huston has also appeared in a number of recent films including "American Hustle," "Kill Your Darlings" and David Chase's "Not Fade Away." Upcoming big-screen credits for the actor include "Posthumous" opposite Brit Marling, Nicholas Sparks adaptation "The Longest Ride" and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," an adaptation of the bestselling mashup novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. Based on the hugely popular 1880 novel by Lew Wallace, »
- Chris Eggertsen
Exclusive: MGM and Paramount have found Ben-Hur. The studios are setting Jack Huston, and you just knew he was going to get a big, star-making film role after his portrayal of the masked, war-scarred assassin Richard Harrow on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. It would be hard to imagine a bigger-scale picture than Ben-Hur, with Timur Bekmambetov directing the epic remake in Europe next year. Huston joins Morgan Freeman, whom Deadline broke will play the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer.
MGM and Paramount still have to find their Messala, Ben-Hur’s former close friend-turned-bitter rival. Actors have been circling both parts, and it looked for a while there like Huston might have played the latter. He read for that role, but Bekmambetov decided instead he had the sympathetic manner and grit to play the title role, the one that brought »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Tom Hiddleston is getting some company in the upcoming Hank Williams biopic. Deadline reports that Elizabeth Olsen has joined the cast of I Saw the Light, which sees Hiddleston taking on the life of the legendary country music star who gained notoriety for classics like “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” before dying of heart failure at the age of 29. Olsen will be playing Williams’ wife Audrey Mae, who split from her husband after seven years of marriage due to Williams’ alcohol, morphine, and painkiller addictions. Their relationship was a turbulent one to say the least, and I imagine Olsen will be a swell fit alongside Hiddleston in the film. Marc Abraham is directing, and Hiddleston will be doing all of his own singing. Hit the jump for some big casting news concerning the upcoming Ben-Hur remake. Additionally, Deadline reports that Morgan Freeman has signed »
- Adam Chitwood
Morgan Freeman has joined the cast of MGM's completely unnecessary reboot of the classic sword-and-sandals epic "Ben-Hur," based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ." That Timur Bekmambetov ("Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Wanted") is attached to direct, makes this an even tougher pill for me to swallow, given the filmmaker's usual style. This reboot will probably be closer in look and feel to films like "300" than anything resembling the 1959 Charleton Heston film, directed by William Wyler, that cleaned up at the Oscars that year (there was an »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Hot on the heels of his agreement to star in Seth MacFarlane’s comedy sequel Ted 2, Morgan Freeman has put pen to paper to be involved in an upcoming film that is, let’s just say, a slight departure from a pot-smoking teddy bear with an attitude. That production in question, dear readers, is Timur Bekmambetov’s ambitious remake of William Wyler’s 1959 epic, Ben-Hur.
According to a report by Deadline, the Oscar-winning actor will join the project as Ildarin, a wise old man that trains our titular protagonist in the fine arts of chariot racing. Based on Lew Wallace’s revered 1880 novel, Bekmambetov’s modern retelling is said to explore the early life of one Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, two best friends who find their relationship put to the test once the Roman Empire takes over.
At this stage, there are no other casting announcements to be made; although, »
- Michael Briers
Exclusive: Gearing up to start production in Europe early next year, MGM, Paramount and Timur Bekmambetov have made their first formal casting in Ben-Hur. They’ve set Morgan Freeman to play the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer.
The studios are getting close to finding their Judah Ben-Hur and his friend-turned-bitter-rival Messala. I’ve reported that Tom Hiddleston was one of those being courted, and at this point it’s not clear if he will take part. They’ve set a February 26, 2016, release date on the epic remake, that is based more closely on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ – the biggest-selling novel of its time until it was eclipsed by Gone With The Wind — than the 1959 William Wyler-directed film that starred Charlton Heston. Keith Clarke wrote the script and John Ridley did the rewrite. »
- Mike Fleming Jr
The American Film Institute will announce their next lifetime achievement honoree in the near future. Who do you think will be selected for their 2015 tribute? -Break- Last year's recipient was two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda. The 2013 program honoring director and writer Mel Brooks was so well-received, it won the Emmy Award a few weeks ago as Best Variety Special. Related: Kennedy Center Honors select Al Green, Tom Hanks, Lily Tomlin The annual event began in 1973 with director John Ford as the first honoree. Other notables over the next few years included James Cagney, Orson Welles, William Wyler, Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, and Fred Astaire. When you make a prediction using our poll below, keep in mind the following living people have already been honored by the AFI: Kirk Douglas, Sidney Poitier, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, Barbra Streisand, Tom Hank. »
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