Lauren Bacall: The Life of a Hollywood Icon

Lauren Bacall, the Hollywood starlet who starred in some of the most popular films of the 1940s and 50s, has died at the age of 89 in New York.

Having began her career as a teen model, Bacall eventually was granted a screen test with Warner Bros. During the screen test, Bacall would hold her chin down and tilt her eyes up towards the camera. This ‘look’ became Bacall’s trademark throughout her career.

Having passed the screen test, Bacall completed her first film, To Have and Have Not, in 1944. Her co-star in the film was Humphrey Bogart, who Bacall began a relationship with.

The following year, Bacall and Bogart married at the home of author Louis Bromfield. Bacall was 20, and Bogart was 45. They had two children and remained happily married for 11 years, until Bogart’s death from cancer in 1957.

The range of films that Bacall completed throughout the 1940s and 50s include The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948) with Humphrey Bogart. She also appeared in Young Man with a Horn (1950) with Kirk Douglas and Doris Day, How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, and Designing Woman (1957) with Gregory Peck.

Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’

Bacall was also in a relationship with Frank Sinatra for a while after being widowed, and was married to the actor Jason Robards Jr. from 1961 until 1969.

Although Bacall’s career slowed down in the 1950s, she did continue acting, although in less films than she appeared in throughout the previous two decades.

In 1997, Bacall was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces. Bacall did not win, but was presented with an Honorary Academy Award for her body of work in 2009.

Throughout her career, Bacall will be remembered for her trademark look and her sultry, femme fatale characters. As one of the last links to the Golden Age of Hollywood, it is likely that Bacall will remain one of the greatest, and most glamorous, Hollywood actresses of all time.

“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”

Lauren Bacall, 16th September 1924 – 12th August 2014

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Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Robin Williams, who has died at his home in California aged 63, is remembered by many as a staple of American comedy throughout the 1980s and 90s.

Best remembered for his zany and energetic style of comedy, Robin Williams began his career as a stand up comedian, before moving onto television with the sitcom Mork and Mindy, running from 1978 to 1982, which made him a household name.

After moving into film, he found his niche in playing characters with a great enthusiasm, and used his apt for comic timing to great effect.

In addition to his many, greatly remembered comedic roles, he has also been celebrated for his more serious roles, such as playing therapist Sean Maguire in 1997s Good Will Hunting, which led to him winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role.

His wide range of critically acclaimed films include Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), The Fisher King (1991), Hook (1991), Disney’s Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995) and Night at the Museum (2006).

Although very successful in his career, he has often suffered with his own personal demons, including addictions to alcohol and cocaine, and suffering from bouts of depression.

He had recently admitted himself into rehab to help conquer his alcohol addiction, and his publicist confirmed that Williams has been ‘battling severe depression’ in the recent months.

On the breaking news of his death, Williams wife Susan Schneider released the following statement; “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken.”

Many tributes from those in the world of film have poured in over the last 24 hours, including;

“Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal and I can’t believe he’s gone.” - Steven Spielberg, who directed Robin Williams in Hook

“I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.” Steve Martin

“Robin Williams, the most astonishingly funny, brilliant, profound and silly miracle of mind and spirit, has left the planet. He was a giant heart, a fireball friend, a wondrous gift from the gods. Now the selfish bastards have taken him back.”Terry Gilliam, who directed Robin Williams in The Fisher King

“A tweet cannot begin to describe the hugeness of Robin Williams heart and soul and talent. This is so sad.”Ben Stiller, who worked with Robin Williams in Night at the Museum

“My Heart’s broken. Robin was a beautiful, kind soul. Can’t bear that he’s gone. So incredibly sorry for his family.”Minnie Driver, who worked with Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting

“Robin Williams made the world laugh & think. I will remember & honor that. A great man, artist and friend. I will miss him beyond measure.” – Kevin Spacey

In addition to the world of film, a tribute came in from President Obama on the passing of Robin Williams;

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny… and everything in between. But he was one of a kind.” – President Barack Obama

At the time of his passing, he had several films in post-production, including reprising his role as Theodore Roosevelt in the third Night at the Museum film, due to be released in December 2014.

Fans of the late, great Robin Williams will have their own memories of his films and their personal favourites from his body of work. We can now remember his many great roles, and salute an actor who made many, many people happy.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Robin Williams (1951 – 2014)

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Read the article at focusfilm.co.uk

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Terry Gilliam’s unfinished project to begin re-filming in 2015

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, an unfinished film from director Terry Gilliam, is set to begin shooting in 2015, Gilliam tells The Wrap.

The project, which originally began pre-production in 1998 and filming in 2000, will now be started from scratch.

The novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes was converted into a script by Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni, who also participated on the screenplay for another Gilliam classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

After filming began in 2000, with Jean Rochefort as Don Quixote, and an additional modern character called Toby Grisoni (notice the similarity to the scriptwriters name), played by Johnny Depp.

However, after a number of issues, including flooding on set, the illness of Jean Rochefort and insurance problems, production was halted, and eventually abandoned.

In 2009, Gilliam attempted to re-start the production, with Robert Duvall as Don Quixote, and Johnny Depp still cast as Toby Grisoni. After Depp was faced with scheduling conflicts, he was replaced by Ewan McGregor, but due to funding issues, this production never got off the ground.

Gilliam has secured funding to re-start the project again, from Spanish producer Adrián Guerra, and has also made some changes to the plot to make it more modern.

Although Gilliam couldn’t disclose any of the names of actors he is hoping to be involved in the project, his producers are currently dealing with the agents of the actors he would like to see cast.

It is still unconfirmed, but it has recently been rumoured that John Hurt will play Don Quixote.

After all of the ups and downs that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has faced, Gilliam remains positive about the production; “I’ve done it so many times – or not done it so many times – I’ll believe it when I see it. However, I’m behaving as if it’s all going to happen as planned.”

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is expected to begin filming in early 2015.

Read the article at focusfilm.co.uk

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‘Into the Woods’ teaser trailer released

The first teaser trailer for Into the Woods has been released by Disney.

The fairytale film, directed by Rob Marshall, whose previous films include Chicago, is based on the Broadway musical of the same name, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

James Lapine, who wrote the book on which the musical was based, has also penned the screenplay for the upcoming film.

Into the Woods combines a mixture of the Brothers Grimm fairytales, and shows us the results of the characters’ wishes and quests.

An original story which appears in the film is that of a childless couple who try to rid themselves of a witch’s curse, which leads them to meet the other characters on their journey.

This is Disney’s first adaptation of a Broadway musical, and this trailer shows us a selection of the star-studded cast for Into the Woods, including Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep as The Witch.

As well as the cast, this trailer also shows us a selection of well-known fairytale characters that will appear in the film, including Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella.

In June 2014, it was reported that some plot changes were taking place, and there would be the removal of the song Any Moment from the film production, in order to make the film more family friendly.

However, Stephen Sondheim released a statement saying these changes wouldn’t be taking place, and the film will be a faithful adaptation of the musical.

Filming took place over 2013 in the UK, on a budget of £23.7million ($40million), and with an all star cast such as this, Into the Woods looks set to become one of the biggest films of the year.

Into the Woods will be released on 9th January 2015 in the UK.

Read the article at focusfilm.co.uk

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Elle Fanning cast as Mary Shelley in ‘A Storm in the Stars’

Elle Fanning, fresh out of staring as Princess Aurora in Maleficent, is set to take on her next great challenge, playing writer Mary Shelley.

A Storm in the Stars is a period drama telling the story of the writer Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who would eventually become Mary Shelley and write one of the most famous novels in literature, Frankenstein.

The film will tell the story of her relationship with the poet Percy Shelley, who she met at the age of 16, when he was still married to his first wife.

In addition to their relationship, the film will look at the writing of Frankenstein, which Mary Shelley began when she was 19 years old.

The film will be directed by Haifaa al-Mansour, the first female director from Saudi Arabia. Her breakthrough film, Wadjda, was the first film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, and deals with the theme of a young girl challenging the norm in her society.

The script will be penned by Australian writer Emma Jensen, with Amy Baer producing. Joannie Burstein and Rebecca Miller are to be executive producers for the production.

On the casting of Elle Fanning, producer Amy Baer has said; “Elle is amazingly smart and talented and very much relates to Mary as a young woman. She is going to do something extraordinary in this role that will transition her from a compelling young adult to a formidable leading lady.”

Elle, and her older actress sister Dakota Fanning, are currently taking Hollywood by storm, and are both on their way to becoming part of the Hollywood elite of actors.

Although financing has yet to be secured for the film, the director hopes that shooting on A Storm in the Stars will begin in 2015. No other cast members have been announced yet.

Read the article at focusfilm.co.uk

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Steven Spielberg’s ‘The BFG’ gets UK release date

The upcoming version of The BFG to be directed by Steven Spielberg has been given a UK release date of 22nd July 2016, from international distributor eOne.

The US release of The BFG is at a slightly earlier date of 1st July 2016.

The BFG tells the story of Sophie and the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) she teams up with to help stop the evil giants who are kidnapping humans to eat.

The famous children’s book, written by Roald Dahl, is currently the second project lined up for Spielberg, who is currently filming an as-yet untitled cold war thriller, starring Tom Hanks, with a script from Joel and Ethan Coen.

Spielberg is also rumoured to be working on a fifth Indiana Jones film. However, with Harrison Ford currently focused on his commitments with Star Wars, this has pushed back any opportunity of seeing Indiana Jones on our cinema screens anytime soon.

The screenplay for The BFG is set to be penned by Melissa Mathison, who wrote the script for a previous Spielberg classic, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall are set to produce the film, whilst Marshall’s wife Kathleen Kennedy is set to be executive producer. The trio will release the film through their production company, Amblin Entertainment, alongside DreamWorks Studios.

No actors for the film have been announced.

Since the publication of The BFG in 1982, it has sold over 200 million books worldwide, and 2016 will mark 100 years since Roald Dahl’s birth.

On the announcement of the UK release date, Spielberg released the following statement; “It is fitting that the U.K. is the first international country to announce the date of The BFG, a story that sprang from the imagination of this proud son from Wales. We at DreamWorks Studios hope our film will add to Roald Dahl’s prolific legacy of entertainment.”

The BFG will be released on 22nd July 2016 in the UK.

Read the article at focusfilm.co.uk

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Happy Birthday, Peter O’Toole!

The actor would have been 82 years old today.

Happy Birthday to Peter O’Toole!

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