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11 items from 2003

Elijah Wood Hopes To Avoid Mark Hamill's Fate

17 December 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Lord Of The Rings star Elijah Wood is keen to avoid the fate that befell Mark Hamill after the acclaim given to the original Star Wars trilogy. Elijah, 22, relates to the predicament of the Luke Skywalker actor - who never managed to replicate the success of the sci-fi character - but is determined to keep his career on the up. He says, "There are a lot of factors why Mark Hamill got stuck in the Luke Skywalker zone, partially because of how massive that whole thing became and there hadn't quite been anything like it. Also because nobody knew who he was before. They were only able to associate him with that role." And Elijah hopes selecting interesting roles will help him avoid being typecast as hobbit Frodo. He says, "That's the main thing, continue to work and be perceived in a different light with different characters." »

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VES to give lifetime honor to Lucas

1 October 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Filmmaker George Lucas, whose Star Wars saga helped transform the visual effects industry, will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Visual Effects Society at the second annual VES Awards ceremony. The award is the first of its kind to be given by VES and represents, for the visual effects community, the equivalent to the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nod given to feature film producers whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality. "If it weren't for George Lucas, we wouldn't be here," VES executive director Tom Atkin said. "He has always had a strong vision of how visual effects could contribute to the movies, and the recent steps that he and Lucasfilm have taken to advance the digital filmmaking process continue to take the art of telling stories through visual effects to new heights." »

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Ford Hits Out at US in Iraq

28 August 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood superstar Harrison Ford has voiced his concerns over the American-led war in Iraq. The veteran actor said armed conflict was not the solution to Iraq's problems. Speaking in the Spanish capital Madrid to launch his latest film, Hollywood Homicide, Ford also took a swipe at US gun laws and the 'big hit' nature of the country's film industry. Ford, 62, said, "I'm very disturbed about the direction American foreign policy is going. I think something needs to be done to help alleviate the conditions which have created a disenfranchised and angry faction in the Middle East. I don't think military intervention is the correct solution. I regret what we as a country have done so far." And, despite having starred in the original Star Wars trilogy, Ford also attacked Hollywood for making too many films more akin to "video games" than real life. He added, "It seems everybody is going for the big hit, for the most return." And although he has appeared in action films, he said America's liberal gun laws had greatly contributed to the country's crime problems. »

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Hollywood Democrats Join Up To Oppose Arnie

25 August 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

The cream of Hollywood's Democrat power players are teaming up to oppose Arnold Schwarzenegger's bid to become Governor of California. Opponents include Tom Hanks, who was reportedly angry to see an article claiming that his agents CAA would be supporting Republican Schwarzenegger. According to gossip website Page Six.Com, "Tom was furious when (a misleading) article in the Los Angeles Times appeared on Tuesday, saying Creative Artists Agency would help Arnold in his bid for governor. Tom and other power players are absolutely against Arnold becoming governor." Other notable stars who will not be supporting the Terminator star include Indecent Proposal star Woody Harrelson and The West Wing actor Martin Sheen. A spokesperson for Harrelson tells Page Six, "He does not support the candidacy." And Sheen says, "The California recall is an effort to grab the state for the Republicans. I suspect this came out of the White House. Frankly, it makes perfect sense after Florida." Moonlighting star Cybill Shepherd has also been vociferous in her opposition to Schwarzenegger - she told American show Access Hollywood, "That would be the worst tragedy in the history of California." Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher believes that his move into politics would be a "huge" mistake. »

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Ewan McGregor's 'Star Wars' Depression Led to Boozing

22 August 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Movie star Ewan McGregor has admitted to binging on alcohol in order to cope with the depression brought on by his role in the Star Wars prequels. The Scottish actor saw his career skyrocket when he played the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the hit franchise, but soon felt the pressure of being an international movie star. This fueled the Moulin Rouge actor's hatred of the George Lucas- helmed movies - and he began drinking heavily to get through the intense publicity. Ewan admits, "I used to get drunk before meeting journalists. I thought it would get me through. But then it just leads to you saying things that you wished you'd never said - stupid things." But the father-of-two has now curbed his boozing ways, and is happy to be recognized as Obi-Wan by young fans. He says, "After Attack Of The Clones, I stopped drinking for interviews. Now, I'm very happy to do them, I really am. And I like being Obi-Wan Kenobi. I like it when kids speak to me about it because I remember being that way about the first three Star Wars films myself." »

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Star Wars III: Attack of the Mullets

10 July 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Star Wars movie-maker George Lucas is insisting all the characters in the new sci-fi sequel sport shaggy seventies-style haircuts - so they look like the stars of the original films. Star Wars: Episode III actors Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, currently shooting the final installment on set in New South Wales, Australia, are showing off unfashionable "mullet" hairdos - because they were trendy when the first Star Wars film was made in 1977. An onset source explains, "The idea is that it will lead seamlessly on to the original Star Wars movie, starring Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, which was filmed in the Seventies and had certain hallmarks of that era. It's a bid for continuity. They are trying to capture the shaggy look that was popular then." »

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Ford To Become Bob the Builder?

11 June 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood hunk Harrison Ford is in talks to become the voice of popular children's TV character Bob The Builder - in a film version of the animated show. The Indiana Jones star - who worked as a carpenter himself before landing a career-changing role in Star Wars - was approached by movie bosses after hailing the series as one of his favorites. Ford - a father of four - is reportedly under pressure from his girlfriend actress Calista Flockhart to sign up to the project, because her two-year-old adopted son Liam is such a fan of the show. The 61-year-old actor is considering the offer from Viacom, makers of the American version of the hit British program, which is dubbed by American actors. A source at the BBC - who make the British show - says, "Viacom have been very good in keeping us in the loop. Ford came back to them to ask for more details about what was involved. People at Viacom seem to think he's been leaned on by Calista. Obviously it would be a fantastic coup to have the show voiced by Harrison Ford." »

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'Phantom Menace' Is "Worst Sequel Ever"

27 May 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace has been voted the worst movie sequel of all time in a poll by American TV network E!. The highly anticipated 1999 prequel beat off fierce competition from the likes of Batman & Robin, Speed 2: Cruise Control and Jaws: The Revenge, to be crowned king of disappointing follow-ups. The Phantom Menace - made over 15 years after George Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy - starred Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor alongside a cast of computer-generated creatures. Jeff Reid of E! says, "Liam Neeson gave the old Jedi a try, but Ewan McGregor looked like he was still in Trainspotting. And the convoluted storyline didn't help. If there's one sure thing about Hollywood and sequels, it's that no matter how bad a movie is, it can always be re-made worse. In Tinseltown, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery - it's an established path to commercial success. But all-too-often, part deux is really part doo-doo." »

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To Be Vader Or Not To Be Vader

29 April 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Star Wars creator George Lucas is leaving fans in the dark as to whether Darth Vader will feature at the end of Episode III. The bearded filmmaker has refused to reveal how the third installment of the beloved franchise will end - and even star Hayden Christensen has little idea. When asked if he would be donning the legendary black armor, Christensen says, "No, not as far as I know. It's not in the story if we begin from where we left off." And Christensen also doubts they'll be any mask wearing or asthmatic breathing either. He adds, "None of that, as far as I know. But that's very little. George Lucas is notorious, he keeps it all very secretive." However, considering James Earl Jones who voiced the original Vader has been booked to appear at the end of the movie, the dark cloaked one may well make his welcome return. »

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'Star Wars' faves back for prequel

28 April 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

George Lucas is bringing back the classic characters Chewbacca the Wookie, C-3PO and R2-D2 for the upcoming Star Wars Episode III. The director has already hired actors Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker to reprise their roles as sprightlier versions of their characters for the prequel in preproduction. All three actors have donned costumes in past Star Wars episodes, and in the case of Daniel and Baker, the thespians have loaned their voice talents to puppet and motion-control versions of their characters. Lucas has noted in the past that having Baker inside the R2-D2 suit brought "an element of humanity" to the character. »

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Record February in the books

3 March 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

An action-adventure film based on a Marvel comic book super hero and a romantic comedy based on a comic self-help book took center stage in February as 20th Century Fox's Daredevil and Paramount's How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days helped lift the boxoffice tally for the month to record heights. After a frosty January, when both receipts and admissions were markedly lower than in years past, the national boxoffice in February was a bit warmer as the total for the month reached a record $652.9 million -- up 7% from last year's $609.8 million. It's only the second time the $600 million barrier has been surpassed in February. While the boxoffice enjoyed a strong surge, estimated February admissions followed suit with solid returns but failed to crack the record of 110.5 million set in 1997, when another Fox title, the Star Wars special-edition reissue, was in the top spot with more than $100 million in its coffers. Estimated ticket units in February marked the second-highest on record for the comparable period with 108.2 million, up nearly 3% from last year's 105.3 million and just a hair's breadth higher than the 108 million reported in 2001. February's admission tally was 2% shy of the 1997 record. The discrepancy between the performance in boxoffice and admissions is because of this year's slightly higher ticket prices. »

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