14 items from 2014
By Anjelica Oswald
Gugu Mbatha-Raw — whose name is short for Gugulethu, which is Zulu for “Our Pride” — is quickly showing her versatility as an actress portraying an 18th century aristocrat and a hip-hop star over the course of a year. Mbatha-Raw (pronounced em-bah-tah raw) has been highly praised for both roles and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Mbatha-Raw was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and in 2009, she starred alongside Jude Law in Hamlet on Broadway.
Prior to her stint on Broadway, she appeared in various television shows and movies, including Doctor Who in 2007.
She followed her Broadway performance with roles in the 2011 film Larry Crowne, with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, and she played one half of the undercover husband-and-wife CIA team in NBC’s Undercovers. The show, executive produced by J.J. Abrams, was cancelled after 13 episodes. She also appeared in the first season of Touch, »
- Anjelica Oswald
Following her breakthrough role in Belle, British rising star Gugu Mbatha-Raw delivers another stirring performance set in the world of music in writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s contemporary romantic drama Beyond the Lights. Mbatha-Raw plays Noni, a young award-winning artist struggling with the demands of sudden stardom until she meets Kaz (Nate Parker), a principled young man assigned to her security detail who genuinely sees her as a person not a persona. Their love inspires her to find the courage to become the artist she was always meant to be. Opening November 14th, the film also stars Minnie Driver and Danny Glover. In an exclusive interview, Mbatha-Raw talked about how her character evolved once she was offered the role, the 8-minute presentation that helped secure the film’s financing, the two-year process of research and preparation, why she was intrigued by the film’s exploration of the emotional and psychological implications of fame, »
- Sheila Roberts
Chicago – The show business life is ripe for drama, and the new film “Beyond the Lights” explores the difficulties of the the superstar reaches of the music business, through a Beyoncé-type singer. Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Noni, and the film’s director is Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball”).
Photo credit: Relativity Media
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is making a name for herself, with two major releases this year, “Belle” and “Beyond the Lights.” The English actress is probably best remembered as the quirky student friend of Tom Hanks in “Larry Crowne.” Director Gina Prince-Bythewood is back in the spotlight after the well-received “Love & Basketball” in 2000. Since that time, she has directed HBO’s “Disappearing Acts” (2000) and “The Secret Life of Bees” (2008).
HollywoodChicago.com sat down to speak with both women during the 50th Chicago International Film Festival, where “Beyond the Lights” was the highlighted »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Noted typewriter enthusiast (and actor) Tom Hanks has a short story, "Alan Bean Plus Four," in The New Yorker this week. It's got selfies, a guy named MDash who "shortened his long tribal name to rap-star length," and references to Apollo 13, apps, and selfies: "We took hundreds of selfies with the Earth in the window and, plinking a Ping-Pong ball off the center seat, played a tableless table-tennis tournament ..." All in all, it's short, sweet, and pretty much perfect. (They've even included a recording of Hanks reading his piece aloud.) The only thing that could make this better would be an accompanying photo of Hanks click-clacking away at his typewriter. Maybe it's finally time for Larry Crowne 2? »
- Lindsey Weber
It’s the voice. That mellifluous, basso profundo, deep down rumbling that issues words, sentences, entire speeches with such authority, sincerity and such relish that we cannot but pay attention. We hang on every word because we hear the intelligence, the humor, the irony and most of all the joy of someone who is in love; with life, with his partner, with acting, with being in the world and a part of human society, with the absolute joy of living. That voice is as recognizable and distinctive as Orson Welles, John Huston, Ed Begley or Roger Corman, that voice takes us by the hand and reveals to us a life lived full out, in every sense of the word; complicated, tragic, loving, generous and most of all fun.
It appears to be »
- Sam Moffitt
The latest film from director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees) will open the 18th annual Urbanworld Film Festival, organizers of the largest competitive multicultural fest said today. Beyond the Lights stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Larry Crowne), Nate Parker (Red Tails, The Great Debaters), Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) and Emmy Award nominee Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Lethal Weapon) in the tale of a rising musician struggling with the pressures of superstardom. Bet Networks and founding sponsor HBO are backers of the fest which will take place September 17-21 in New York. Over 70 films are set to screen this year. Beyond The Lights will screen on September 18 ahead of its November 14 wide release via Relativity, which produced alongside Relativity Sports, Undisputed Cinema and Homegrown Pictures in association with Bet Films. Other highlights of the 2014 slate include a screening of HBO Latino’s Habla Men and »
- The Deadline Team
"In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes," it's claimed Andy Warhol once said. Some stars shine much brighter than others, though, and in the case of Hollywood we often see actors hit big early before disappearing without trace.
Brandon Routh, who delivered a sensitive and assured turn as the Man of Steel in 2006's Superman Returns, is one such example. Routh never quite got the breaks he deserved after landing that life-changing role, so it's nice to see him back in the superhero game with an upcoming role as Atom in Arrow.
Digital Spy takes a look back at a handful of stars who couldn't escape their one big role.
Plucked from relative obscurity to lead Bryan Singer's lavish Superman sequel, Routh impressively channelled Christopher Reeve on his big screen debut but found leading man roles difficult to come by in the aftermath.
Parts in »
Columbia Pictures has released the first trailer and poster for The Interview, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's follow-up to This is the End, a film described as an action-comedy in which James Franco stars as tabloid journalist Dave Skylark, who, along with his "Skylark Tonight" producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen), have landed an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park, Larry Crowne), a self-proclaimed fan of the show, in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un. Lizzy Caplan co-stars. The film is set to hit theaters on October 10, watch the trailer and check out the pictures and poster below. sb id="945827" height="360" width="640" »
- Brad Brevet
Columbia Pictures has released the poster for The Interview, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's follow-up to This is the End, a film described as an action-comedy in which James Franco stars as tabloid journalist Dave Skylark, who, along with his "Skylark Tonight" producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen), have landed an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park, Larry Crowne), a self-proclaimed fan of the show, in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un. Lizzy Caplan co-stars. The film is set to hit theaters on October 10 and I'll have the first trailer for you tomorrow morning. In the meantime the poster is featured directly below. »
- Brad Brevet
It's been over a decade since we've visited Dancing Zorba's and witnessed the magical healing powers of Windex, but all that's about to change. Nia Vardalos, the writer and star of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," has penned a sequel that's getting big-screen treatment, with help from producers Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks. Thankfully, her co-star John Corbett is also returning; the "Northern Exposure" (and, Ok, "Sex and the City") star played her hunky but most definitely not Greek husband in the original film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, there will be yet another giant Greek wedding at the heart of this sequel, as well as a big family secret. Vardalos told THR, "Of course a few jaded folks in the press corps will claim I ran out of money or just want to kiss John Corbett again. One of these things is true." Hey, who could blame her?
- Jenni Miller
Has any hit ever been more sure-fire than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2? The eighth Harry Potter film opened just under a decade after the first one — a decade that saw Potter fandom sweep across the globe. The franchise’s rapid release schedule — with a new film hitting theaters every 18 months on average — meant that a whole generation of moviegoers literally grew up with Harry Potter, watching the stars age from humble prepubescent beginnings into grown-up megastars. The fact that J.K. Rowling released the three final books during the same period occasionally made it feel like all »
- Darren Franich
Shooting starts in Morocco today on the comedic drama A Hologram for the King, which is being directed by Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas, Perfume), who also adapted the script from the eponymous novel by Dave Eggers. The independently-financed production stars multiple Oscar winner Tom Hanks alongside a remarkable cast including: Sarita Choudhury (Homeland), Omar Elba (Intelligence), Tracey Fairaway ("Enough Said"), David Menkin (Zero Dark Thirty) and Tom Skerritt (Ted, Top Gun).
A Hologram for the King is being produced by Uwe Schott (Cloud Atlas, Me and Kaminski) and Stefan Arndt (Cloud Atlas, Amour) of X Filme Creative Pool; Arcadiy Golubovich and Tim O'Hair of Primeridian; and Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (Larry Crowne, Mamma Mia!) of Playtone; in Association with Silver Reel Entertainment, and Fábrica de Cine. Dave Eggers, Steve Shareshian of Playtone, Claudia Bluemhuber of Silver Reel, Gaston Pavlovich of Fabrica de Cine, and Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel »
Justin Chang: Scott, I know it will come as little surprise to you that when Peter Debruge and I sat down to discuss this year’s Oscar nominees for best supporting actor and supporting actress, we spent almost as much time talking about the performances that should have been nominated as we did talking about the ones that actually were. This is hardly a new ax for any critic to grind, but it bears repeating: Those who vote on the Academy Awards are largely in the business of making movies — not seeing them, thinking about them and writing about them week in and week out. No wonder this organization’s choices often strike us as so pedestrian and provincial, less engaged by the boundary-expanding possibilities of cinema than beholden to the power of hometown hype.
See Also: Oscars Picks: Variety Critics on Who Should Win Best Supporting Actor »
- Justin Chang and Scott Foundas
Usually with (mostly) beloved actresses, I feel confident nominating them to be gay icons. Emma Thompson? Done. Jamie Lee Curtis? Yes. Julie Bowen, Kristen Bell, Elizabeth Banks, Whoopi Goldberg, and Amy Poehler? I didn’t flinch at all during that sentence.
But for some reason Julia Roberts, a mega-star even among the aforementioned names, is a question mark in this area. She’s certainly had enough fabulous roles to be considered fabulous, but I personally can’t name many gay friends who leap at the news of her next movie. Her megastar contemporary Sandra Bullock, however, completely fits this bill, and I’m not entirely sure why. Does Julia secretly qualify? I’ll give her the Kate Middleton treatment and weigh the pros and cons.
1. She won a justly deserved Best Actress Oscar for a comic performance.
- Louis Virtel
14 items from 2014
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