3 items from 2015
Actor Alex Rocco, best known for playing mobster Moe Green in the 1972 classic The Godfather, passed away on Saturday in his Studio City, California home at the age of 79. The actor's stepson, Sean Doyle, confirmed to The Los Angeles Times that the actor passed away after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. The actor's long career spanned 50 years, with over 150 TV and film credits.
Alex Rocco was born Alessandro Federico Petricone Jr. in Boston, who caught the acting bug at the age of 30, when he took an acting class to meet women. After moving to Los Angeles, he took a class taught by Leonard Nimoy, who promptly kicked him out because he couldn't understand his thick Boston accent. He then enrolled in a speech class which transformed his Boston accent with a New York accent, which Leonard Nimoy said he could work with. He made his acting debut with the 1965 Russ Meyer film Motorpsycho! »
Edging towards some sort of record for the most eclectic cast ever assembled, director Ang Lee has just added two more names to his roster for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Vin Diesel and Chris Tucker have signed up to join Steve Martin, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and newcomer Joe Alwyn.There's no indication of who either will be playing yet, but it's the first time Diesel has turned out for anything other than an action role (Groot nothwithstanding) since Find Me Guilty in 2006. On that occasion he was working for Sidney Lumet, so clearly he's amenable to taking a risk for the right director.Tucker, meanwhile, has been quiet since Silver Linings Playbook in 2012, partly thanks to a lifestyle change since his Jackie Brown / Rush Hour heyday. But it's an interesting footnote that he was previously part of another unusually varied cast in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element. »
The incredibly prolific Michael Winterbottom had two 2014 titles, so we’re sure to see this latest project materialize before the end of the year, though major cast has not yet been announced since the news broke during the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. While The Trip to Italy was a light piece of entertainment, Winterbottom’s other 2014 title, The Face of an Angel, which played Venice and Toronto wasn’t as well received, even though it was a compelling take on how we adapt true crime stories to film. This latest, The Vatican Connection, seems to be in that vein, based on the real-life story of the NYPD detective who first uncovered the Vatican Bank’s links to the Mafia in the 1970s.
- Nicholas Bell
3 items from 2015
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