The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival is once again underway in New York City. Entries in this year’s festival include films from 28 countries, which are being shown from April 19th to April 30th. The festival has already seen a fair share of controversy this year. Photographers and reporters were incensed to find some lesser known actors walking on the red carpet wearing masks of James Franco, Shia LaBeouf, and Greta Gerwig instead of the actors themselves for the premiere of the film Flames. In addition, a commercial for United Airlines, which was originally scheduled to appear at the festival, was pulled from the line up after the controversy surrounding Dr. David Dao being violently dragged off one of their flights. Despite a fair share of controversy, which has always been typical of the Hollywood scene, there have been some impressive displays at this year’s festivities. Continue reading →
Iconic rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube has convinced Universal Pictures to cast his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., in the role of his father in an upcoming film about the rap group N.W.A called Straight Outta Compton (named after the group’s debut album). N.W.A. was formed in Compton, California, a city south of Los Angeles, in 1986 by original members Ice Cube, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E. Viewed by many as pioneers of the ‘gangsta rap’ genre, the group became the subject of much controversy due to their explicit lyrics, leading the group to be accused of praising and encouraging violent crime and drug use/distribution. Ice Cube is working with Dr. Dre and Tomica Woods-Wright as producers for the upcoming film, which will apparently be a heavy drama encompassing everything from the emergence of Parental Advisory stickers to the LAPD and feuds within the group itself. More information should be coming out soon, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Director J.J. Abrams has finally released the official cast list for the long-anticipated seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise, which will follow George Lucas’s original trilogy. Returning from the original series are actors Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), as well as the droid characters Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker (C-3P0 and R2-D2), who have appeared in every Star Wars film since the original in 1977. Peter Mayhew will also reprise the role of Chewbacca, Han Solo’s Wookie co-pilot. Among the new generation of actors joining the space saga are John Boyega (Junkhearts, Half of a Yellow Sun), Daisy Ridley (Blue Season, Scrawl), Oscar Issac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Robin Hood), and Adam Driver (J. Edgar, Lincoln), although their respective roles are still unclear at this point. Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, True Grit), and veteran actor Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist, Shutter Island) will also be taking roles in the new film. The film is scheduled to begin shooting next month, so production is truly underway now. We’ll keep an eye out for more news.
Director J.J. Abrams is doing a pretty good job keeping Hollywood waiting on the edge for news of the new Star Wars sequel that will follow the original Star Wars trilogy from writer/director George Lucas, and while there is still not much to report on the matter, we do have a bit of good news if you’re a fan of old-school filmmaking! Actor Peter Mayhew, who portrayed the Wookie, Chewbacca, in the original Star Wars films, will be returning to the production to reprise the character. It had been rumored that the filmmakers were considering digitally creating Chewbacca for the new movie, as was the case for Yoda in the recent installments, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. We have yet to hear whether or not any other original cast members will actually be making an appearance, but if Mayhew is back I can’t imagine there will at least be a few others. Anthony Daniels has to come back to play C-3PO (there really is no appropriate substitute!) and Kenny Baker, who has rode around unseen in the body of R2-D2 for all of the Star Wars movies, should come back just for the hell of it. This is all just speculation of course. Director Abrams, who has confirmed that he has completed the screenplay with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan, has started shooting some background shots in Iceland, but the movie is not scheduled to be in full production until next month, so we’ll look for the big announcement of the official cast. May the Force be with you!!
Despite the recent change up with writing duties for the project, Disney has finally given Star Wars: Episode 7 an official release date. Even though the producers don’t have a title yet, and filming has yet to begin, Disney has set the release for December 18th, 2015. The cast is not yet complete, but this Star Wars movie is already setting a record for being the first Star Wars to be released during the holiday season and not to a summer audience. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher have all been rumored to be reprising their roles in the new film, as well as Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), but nothing official has been released. Ford just took a big role in the new space drama Ender’s Game, which hit theaters last week and is already gaining a reputation for phenomenal visual effects, but he may also be in the running to make another Indiana Jones movie, so we’ll see how he fits Star Wars into his schedule, if he actually does at all. We’ll have to wait until next year to hear anything official. Stay tuned to MADE for more news.