LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Gritty historical drama "12 Years a Slave" and dark comedy "Nebraska" led the nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards on Tuesday, both scoring nods in the best feature, best director and best acting categories. "12 Years a Slave," a harrowing tale of a free black man sold into slavery, landed seven nominations including British-born filmmaker Steve McQueen for best director, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor for best male lead and newcomer actress Lupita Nyong'o for best supporting female. ...
By Mary Milliken LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British actor Idris Elba will be the first to say that he doesn't look like Nelson Mandela. But in playing the anti-apartheid leader and former president of South Africa in the biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," he figured that nailing his physical presence would go a long way to portraying the man. Elba, best known for his roles in the HBO television series "The Wire" and action films such as 2012's "Prometheus," had to look past the elder statesman Mandela that everyone knows and find physical clues to the younger man, a lawyer who inspired many to join the fight against South Africa's all-white rule. The film, based on Mandela's 1994 autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom," is an independent South African production directed by Britain's Justin Chadwick and distributed by The Weinstein Co. It opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.
Emmy-award winning actor Alec Baldwin's late-night talk show on cable TV news network MSNBC has been canceled, the network said on Tuesday. The talk show, "Up Late with Alec Baldwin," was suspended earlier this month after the actor apologized for comments he made to a New York photographer that a gay rights group described as homophobic. "We are jointly confirming that 'Up Late' will not continue on MSNBC," the network and Baldwin's representative Matthew Hiltzik in a joint statement.
John Cusack and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson will also appear in the forthcoming mafia thriller set in Las Vegas. Jason Patric has landed the main role in "The Prince," Deadline.com reports. The actor known from "The Lost Boys" and "Speed 2" will play Paul, a retired Las Vegas mobster, who returns to Sin City to search for his kidnapped daughter. Attached to the project since September, Bruce Willis will play the antagonist, Omar, who is all too happy to come face to face with Paul after awaiting his return for several years.
The two actors' plans to remake the 1974 comedy are taking shape, as Nicholas Stoller has joined the project as a screenwriter, Variety reports. Stoller, who directed "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008) and wrote "The Muppets" (2011) among other films, has been tasked with penning the screenplay for the forthcoming "Uptown Saturday Night" remake, a project championed by Will Smith since 2002. Adam McKay ("Step Brothers") has been attached to direct this Warner Bros production since last year. Will Smith and Denzel Washington will star in the roles originally played by Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier.
By Jeff Mason GLENDALE, California (Reuters) - Almost two weeks ago, President Barack Obama, looking down, walked into the White House briefing room and apologized for the flawed rollout of his healthcare reform law. During a three-day Western swing through Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Obama touted the accomplishments of his signature law, popularly known as Obamacare, and promised the glitches were going away. "Yes, we decided to fix a broken healthcare system," Obama told workers at DreamWorks Animation on Tuesday, the final day of his trip. "I was talking to some of the studio execs here and I said, 'You know the rollout of the healthcare marketplace was rough' ... and yet here in California and here across this state, there are thousands of people who are getting healthcare for the first time - for the first time - because of this." The administration has promised the website will be working for the vast majority of Americans by the end of this month, and White House officials continue to express confidence that goal will be achieved.
By Jill Serjeant NEW YORK (Reuters) - Producers of a new version of the Oscar-winning musical "The Sound of Music," set for U.S. television next week, knew it would be a sacrilege to try and re-make the beloved 1965 movie classic starring Julie Andrews. And American country singer Carrie Underwood, who will star as the aspiring nun who brings song into the home of a strict Austrian widower, says she cringes when she hears the word "re-make." So when the lights go up on the live, televised version of "The Sound of Music" on NBC on December 5, audiences will see a few twists to some of their favorite things, and a lonely goatherd or two in an unusual place. That's because producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have gone back to the stage show first seen in 1959 for their unique version that will be seen in a format, live television, not used for about 50 years. "You would never, ever contemplate doing a re-make of the movie of 'The Sound of Music' because it's a classic.
By Eric Kelsey BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - While growing up in Massachusetts in the 1960s and 1970s, Kasi Lemmons' mother took her every year to see the Christmas musical "Black Nativity" in Boston. Now, the 52-year-old director of 2007 drama "Talk to Me" is bringing poet Langston Hughes' musical about family redemption to the big screen on Wednesday in a present-day adaptation starring Oscar winners Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker. "I wanted to write a story that could continue 'Black Nativity' that was a contemporary story, that was a very accessible story, that was something anyone could relate to," Lemmons said in an interview. In Lemmons' adaptation, the director said she wanted to tackle a modern, broken family's struggles against the backdrop of New York's historically black Harlem neighborhood.
By Chris Michaud NEW YORK (Reuters) - United Kingdom won three International Emmy Awards on Monday, including one for Sean Bean as best actor, and producer-director J.J. Abrams received a special honor for his work on television series and films such as "Lost," "Star Trek" and the upcoming "Star Wars" chapter. France and Brazil won two Emmys, while Australia, Germany and South Korea each won one. Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro won best performance by an actress for her role in "Sweet Mother," in which she plays an elderly woman determined to embrace life, while Bean won as actor for his role as a lonely literature teacher who trawls nightclubs as a transvestite in "Accused." "I've never actually really won anything before," Bean quipped as he accepted his award.
By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Katniss Everdeen not only wields the bow and arrow of hope in "Catching Fire," the second installment of "The Hunger Games" film franchise, she is also the muse of a new high-fashion line that carries the film's fictional world of the Capitol beyond the screen. "Catching Fire" costume designer Trish Summerville's 16-piece collection was launched on Monday for luxury online retailer Net-A-Porter, aptly labeled Capitol Couture. The collection of clothes and accessories are drawn from Summerville's designs for Katniss, the stoic heroine played by Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence. The designer also hopes Capitol Couture will attract the website's high-fashion clientele to the series of young adult films.