Saturday, May 27, 2017

News Briefs

Displaying 1 - 10 of 2444
  • Friday, May. 26, 2017
Blake Lively to headline film from "Big Little Lies" author 
In this May 22, 2017 file photo, actress Blake Lively attends the American Ballet Theatre's 2017 Spring Gala at The Metropolitan Opera House in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Blake Lively is set to star in an adaptation of the best-seller "The Husband's Secret," from "Big Little Lies" author Liane Moriarty. CBS Films said Thursday that Lively will play Cecilia Fitzpatrick in the film and also executive produce.

The character is a model wife and mother who discovers an unopened letter from her husband that says to open only in the case of his death. The curiosity and eventual revelation sends her life into a spiral.

Moriarty's books are becoming a fixture in Hollywood. Her book "Big Little Lies" was adapted into a popular HBO miniseries with Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman that ended its run recently. The prolific Australian author also has a number of books being optioned for big and small screen adaptations.

  • Wednesday, May. 24, 2017
Tom Cruise reveals "Top Gun 2" to start filming soon 
In this Monday, May 22, 2017 file photo, actor Tom Cruise arrives for the Australian premiere of his movie "The Mummy," in Sydney. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

The Danger Zone may have gotten old and dusty, but Tom Cruise says he's about to fly back in.

The 54-year-old actor says the long-discussed sequel to "Top Gun" is a sure thing and should start shooting soon.

Cruise made the announcement Wednesday in response to questions from anchors on the Australian morning news show "Sunrise."

The actor said filming will likely begin within the next year. He added, "It's definitely happening."

Cruise has said in similar interviews that the film was in development and a strong possibility, but has not offered such clear confirmation.

The 1986 Reagan-era flyboy epic propelled Cruise to superstar status.

Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of the original, had been dropping hints too. He posted a picture of himself and Cruise on Saturday's 31st anniversary of the original's release.

  • Tuesday, May. 23, 2017
Sony chief promises profitability, but is short on specifics
Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
TOKYO (AP) -- 

Sony's leader promised a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades.

"We are a company that moves people," said Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai, as he outlined the strategy for the company at its Tokyo headquarters Tuesday.

But he said he cannot give away details of products in the works such as those using artificial intelligence or the "internet of things," or IoT, technology.

He stressed the profitability in sprawling Sony Corp., including its lucrative PlayStation video-game business, which just came out with a popular virtual-reality headset.

Hirai also told reporters another important area is Sony's TV sector, which has been in the black for the last few years, after losing money for a decade.

He also said profits will be improved in smartphones and movies.

Hirai, who took leadership of the company five years ago, acknowledged Sony has never in its seven decades experienced extended periods of profitability.

He stressed that Sony has announced an ambitious goal of achieving operating profit of 500 billion yen ($4.5 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 2018.

Sony's woes have stemmed from having so many diverse areas it has been almost impossible to do well across the board.

When questioned how profitability will be gained in the movies division, Hirai said he hoped to get a hit by working with creators with a good "batting average," and take advantage of hit content it already has, such as the "Spider-Man" series.

But the major task of restructuring has been completed, he added. Sony has been selling its assets, to ensure profitability, including its Vaio personal computer business. That was needed because Sony could not hope to be unique in PCs, Hirai said.

  • Monday, May. 22, 2017
PBS airing live nature special from Alaska this summer 
In this undated image released by PBS, a brown bear catches salmon at Brooks Falls Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. PBS is collaborating with the BBC on a live nature series set in Alaska this July, where cameras will attempt to capture bears, eagles, wolves and whales in their natural habitat.  (Gareth Wildman/PBS via AP)

PBS is collaborating with the BBC on a special live event this summer where cameras will try to catch bears, wolves, eagles and other wildlife in their natural habitat in Alaska.

"Wild Alaska Live" will air over three nights on PBS on July 23, 26 and 30. Cameras placed in the Tongass National Forest, the Kenai Fjords National Park, in Hallo Bay and other locations will hunt for wildlife as the show discusses how the state's human population interacts with nature.

The show is similar to "Big Blue Live," a 2015 event focused on marine life in California's Monterey Bay. That was another partnership with the BBC, said Beth Hoppe, chief programming officer at PBS.

"Live natural history has really caught on for them," Hoppe said. "For them, it's a big spectacle. For us, it's a way to dip our toes into the space."

Brothers Chris and Martin Kratt of the PBS Kids series "Wild Kratts" will host the event.

PBS has a run of natural history and science programming lined up for its "Summer of Adventure." Next month will see the start of multi-part series "The Story of China" and "Big Pacific," the latter on the ocean's "most guarded secrets." ''Nature's Great Race" details stories of migration, and PBS will also show travelogues in Cuba and Ireland.

Through the adventure programming and other series, PBS is emphasizing family friendly viewing at a time it sees competing broadcast networks getting away from that notion, Hoppe said. An adaptation of "Anne of Green Gables" did well for the network last fall, and PBS has agreed to air two other films in a related trilogy. PBS is also planning a three-hour version of "Little Women."

"It's a good thing to emphasize right now," she said.

  • Monday, May. 22, 2017
Jordan Peele's "Get Out" follow-up set for 2019 release 
In this Feb. 9, 2017 file photo, director Jordan Peele poses for a portrait at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles to promote his film, "Get Out." (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File)

Comedian turned filmmaker Jordan Peele is following up the remarkable success of "Get Out" with a provocative original thriller set for release in March 2019.

Universal Pictures announced the release date for Peele's untitled film on Monday.

Peele's buzzy directorial debut "Get Out" became a box office phenomenon this year grossing $229.6 million worldwide on a production budget of only $4.5 million.

Universal Pictures distributed "Get Out" and has since set a first look deal with Peele and his Monkeypaw Productions.

  • Monday, May. 22, 2017
Zack Snyder exits "Justice League" after daughter's death
In this June 17, 2013 file photo, director Zack Snyder attends spanish premiere of the film "Man of Steel" in Madrid. (AP Photo/Abraham Caro Marin, File)

The recent death of director Zack Snyder's daughter has driven the prominent filmmaker to step away from finishing the ensemble superhero movie "Justice League."

A source close to production who was not authorized to speak publicly said Monday that director Joss Whedon would take over completing the film, which should still hit its Nov. 17 release.

Snyder and his wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter they will be using the time away to focus on their family and seven children.

The Reporter story stated Snyder's 20-year-old daughter, Autumn, killed herself in March. Coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said Autumn Snyder's March 12 death is being investigated as a possible suicide due to an overdose of prescription medications. The official cause of death has been deferred pending toxicology results.

Snyder told the magazine that at first he tried to throw himself back into work, but in the past two months realized he needed to be with his family - especially as additional photography shoots in London loomed on the horizon.

"They are all having a hard time. I'm having a hard time," Snyder said.

The Snyders are cornerstone players in Warner Bros. production of DC Comics films. He directed both "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Man of Steel" and is serving as a producer on the additional films in the DC Universe, including last year's "Suicide Squad" and the upcoming "Wonder Woman."

"Justice League" is a critical entry in the slate of DC films, bringing together major superheroes like Ben Affleck's Batman, Henry Cavill's Superman, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller's The Flash and Jason Momoa's Aquaman.

Whedon, who directed the Marvel Comics ensemble films "The Avengers" and its sequel "Age of Ultron," and is writing and directing "Batgirl" for Warner Bros., has been working with Snyder on "Justice League" for over a month. In addition to post-production work, Whedon will also shoot some additional scenes for the film.

Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich told the Reporter that the additional scenes will adhere to the style and template set by Snyder.

Snyder said he knows fans will be worried about the film without him at the helm.

But, he added, "In the end, it's just a movie. It's a great movie. But it's just a movie."

  • Monday, May. 22, 2017
With 4 projects at festival, Kidman becomes "Queen of Cannes"
Actress Nicole Kidman, right, and director Yorgos Lanthimos pose for photographers during the photo call for the film "The Killing Of A Sacred Deer" at the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
CANNES, France (AP) -- 

Unveiling a new chapter in her already-considerable career, Nicole Kidman has brought four projects to Cannes this year, making her almost ubiquitous at the French Riviera festival.

"I'm at that place in my life where I'm trying to pretend I'm 21 and starting my career," Kidman, who turns 50 next month, told reporters on Monday. "I want to try new things and support the filmmakers I believe in."

Kidman's projects at Cannes include Yorgos Lanthimos's brutally dark family comedy "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," which premiered Monday. On Sunday, the actress' "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" - a 1970s punk-alien romantic romp by John Cameron Mitchell - debuted.

Still to come is Sofia Coppola's "The Beguiled," a female-perspective remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film, and the second season of Jane Campion's acclaimed series "Top of the Lake," in which she plays a character she's described as a "radical feminist lesbian."

Kidman's omnipresence at the festival - along with her typically royal poise on the red carpet - has earned her the nickname "Queen of Cannes."

"That's sort of a confluence of events," said Kidman said of her extensive Cannes lineup. "It's not something I was aware would happen."

But she did grant that the films, which follow her turn on the HBO miniseries "Big Little Lies" and her Oscar-nominated performance in "Lion," are the all the result of her resolution to "stay bold and open" to challenging material.

"I still have that passion, at this age, for acting and cinema and storytelling and pushing boundaries and moving out of my comfort zone to try things with an abandon," said Kidman.

As would be expected from Lanthimos' previous films ("The Lobster," ''Dogtooth"), the reaction in Cannes was sharply divided over the Greek filmmaker's latest. Both cheers and boos followed its morning screening, though critics largely praised Lanthimos' allegorical horror.

"The material is brutal in accumulation," said Lanthimos. "We never dealt with it with seriousness. Nicole likes to say that I told her all the time that this is a comedy, and I believe that."

Kidman repeatedly spoke about her hunger as an actress, and her desire at this stage of her life to work with young and uncompromising filmmakers.

"I've worked a lot. I don't have to work. I work because it's my passion. I work because it's how I express myself," said Kidman. "I've always had that slightly rebel spirit where I don't want to conform and I want to find a way not to. That's who I am."

But Kidman also said she keeps her work life separate from her family with singer Keith Urban and her four children.

"This film," she said of "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," ''my children will not be seeing."

  • Sunday, May. 21, 2017
Clint Eastwood tells Cannes he might act again some day 
Director Clint Eastwood, left, talks to film critic Kenneth Turan during a masterclass at the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
CANNES, France (AP) -- 

Clint Eastwood regaled the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday with stories from his long career, predicted a possible return to acting and decried the rise of political correctness.

Eastwood was honored with several screenings of his films, including one marking the 25th anniversary of "Unforgiven." In a staged conversation on Sunday, the 86-year-old director said he would revisit acting "someday."

The last time Eastwood appeared on screen was 2012's "Trouble With the Curve." Before that, he starred in his own 2008 film, "Gran Torino."

Eastwood didn't talk about current political events, but while discussing his then-controversial 1971 film "Dirty Harry," he waded into a topic he's touched on before: so-called political correctness.

"A lot of people thought it was politically incorrect," Eastwood said of "Dirty Harry." ''That was at the beginning of the era that we're in now, where everybody thinks everyone's politically correct. We're killing ourselves by doing that. We've lost our sense of humor."

Sofia Coppola's remake of Don Siegel's 1971 film "The Beguiled," which starred Eastwood, is to premiere this week in Cannes, but Eastwood sounded unfamiliar with Coppola's movie.

He's currently preparing to direct "The 15:17 to Paris," about the foiling of a 2015 Islamic State group attack on a train heading to the French capital from Brussels.

Three Americans, two of them off-duty members of the military, contributed to the subduing of the gunman. Eastwood said the film suited today's "strange times."

Festival-goers mobbed Eastwood's talk. Warner Bros. executives, including studio head Kevin Tsujihara, sat in the front row. Much of the conversation, moderated by Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, touched on Eastwood's attitudes about moviemaking.

"If you have good luck with your instincts, you might as well trust them," Eastwood said. "It's an emotional art form. It's not an intellectual art form at all."

  • Sunday, May. 21, 2017
Kristen Stewart dives into grief in Cannes directorial debut 
Actress Kristen Stewart poses for photographers upon arrival at the screening of the film 120 Beats Per Minute at the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
CANNES, France (AP) -- 

Kristen Stewart's directing ambitions go all the way back to when she was an 11-year-old performing in the 2002 David Fincher thriller "Panic Room."

"I was working with Jodie Foster and I was like, 'I'm going to direct. I'm going to be the youngest director that like exists,'" Stewart recalled in an interview at the Cannes Film Festival.

It took longer than Stewart expected, but she has now made a short film titled "Come Swim" that, after debuting at Sundance, she has brought to Cannes.

It announces her filmmaking ambitions and opens a new chapter in the fast-moving career of the 27-year-old actress. Stewart is already developing several other projects and plans to turn "Come Swim" into a feature-length film.

When she told Foster she was finally making something, Stewart says, "She was like, 'Dude, the first thing you're going to realize is that you have nothing to learn."

"Come Swim," which will later debut on the women's website Refinery 29, isn't your standard actor-made directorial debut. It's a 17-minute metaphorical rendering of a feeling, of the overwhelming oppression of heartbreak and grief. A man is submerged, literally, by water everywhere.

Stewart describes the film as about "aggrandized pain" and says its imagery has haunted her for four years.

"You don't realize when you're trudging through that water, you feel so alone," Stewart says on a balcony overlooking the Cannes coastline. "We've all been there. But when you're in it, you feel like you can't participate in life."

In many ways, "Come Swim" reflects something essential about Stewart: she is hyper alert to her surroundings and her emotions. It's a quality that has probably helped make her, in the eyes of many (particularly the French, who made her the first American actress to win a Cesar award for the Cannes entry "The Clouds of Sils Maria") a performer of twitchy, alive sensitivity.

"I am so sensitive it drives me crazy," says Stewart. "It's funny (that) the first movie I wanted to make was basically just a movie about somebody who is like, 'You don't get it! It's horrible!'"

Cannes has been an especially meaningful place for Stewart, having come here with her two Olivier Assayas collaborations, "Personal Shopper" and "Clouds of Sils Maria," and the Jack Kerouac adaptation "On the Road."

Still, coming to Cannes as a director is what most filmmakers dream of.

"Oh my God, I'm like tripping out. It's crazy. I mean honestly, I think Thierry (Fremaux, festival director), is being nice to me or something," says Stewart. "He's just like, 'OK you can show your little movie here.' I'm like, 'Thank you!'"

Getting behind the camera was also a way for Stewart to be the kind of director she herself appreciates - one that favors discovery over heavily scripted control.

"The worst is when directing becomes correcting," she says. "It's like: 'Do it all yourself then. Why are you even making movies?' I don't want packaged and delivered ideas."

"Come Swim," abstract and impressionistic, is certainly not that. For an actress who remains a considerable box-office draw, her film is little concerned with matching audience expectations.

Right now, she's trying to carve our more time for directing - a challenge for a performer drawn to independent productions.

"I mean I love acting too, though. Like I don't want to trade one for the other. But acting in movies is so time consuming that I need to sort of be like, 'No.' I need to sort of allow myself to not be greedy or something," says Stewart.

Making "Come Swim," she says, is the most fun she's had on a set.

"I look at it and it's its own thing and it's like, 'I'm so proud of it,'" says Stewart. "It's not even like I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of it."

  • Sunday, May. 21, 2017
Adam Sandler earns rave reviews at Cannes for "Meyerowitz Stories"
Actors Ben Stiller, from left, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, director Noah Baumbach and actor Adam Sandler pose for photographers during the photo call for the film The Meyerowitz Stories at the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 21, 2017. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)
CANNES, France (AP) -- 

It's not every day you hear the name "Happy Gilmore" referenced at the Cannes Film Festival.

But that was the case Sunday when Noah Baumbach's "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)," starring Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Dustin Hoffman, premiered at the French Riviera festival.

When the film's cast, which also includes Emma Thompson, assembled for a press conference, the moderator noted this was the second film that Sandler and Stiller have made together after that classic 1996 comedy.

"I just think it's cool to hear 'Happy Gilmore' mentioned at the Cannes," Stiller chuckled.

Worlds often collide at the Cannes Film Festival, even between broad comedy and international art house pieces.

But while Sandler is far from a Cannes regular, the comedian was the toast of the festival Sunday, earning some of the best reviews of his career for his performance as a recently divorced father and the unappreciated son of Hoffman's aging artist, the patriarch of a neurotic, dysfunctional New York family.

"The Meyerowitz Stories" premiered in competition for the Palme d'Or - the festival's coveted top prize.

For many, Sandler's sensitive, rumbled performance recalled some of his rare dramatic turns, like in "Punch Drunk Love" or "Spanglish."

Sandler first came to Cannes in 2002 with "Punch Drunk Love," directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, and he was clearly excited to be back.

"It's different for a comedian to get an offer like this," said Sandler. "My first thought is I don't want to let anyone down."

Sandler described his joy at reading Baumbach's script.

"I was misty-eyed, laughing," said Sandler. "I just couldn't believe we were going to do this movie."

Stiller and Sandler play halfbrothers of very different temperaments in the film, a relationship that culminates in both fisticuffs and tender connections. For the two actors, friends since their early 20s, it was a poignant experience.

"Adam and I have known each other for years and years," said Stiller. "This was a really special experience, having a chance to connect with him like this. Where we're at in our lives personally, it was a chance for us to really get closer than we've been before. Playing brothers, it was really like one of the best experiences I've had."

"Me too, buddy," chimed Sandler.