Kellan Lutz, revealed to the public through the "Twilight" film series, stars in the role of the Greco-Roman demigod in the forthcoming feature. Summit Entertainment has released the first theatrical trailer for "Hercules: The Legend Begins" ahead of its arrival in US theaters January 10. In just over two minutes, the trailer goes beyond the battle scenes featured in the previously released teaser to show what Hercules is fighting for: his beloved Hebe, played by Gaia Weiss. Like "300" and "Clash of the Titans," this Hercules origin story exploits the possibilities of digital imaging to bring the Greco-Roman gods to the screen.
Steve McQueen's historical drama garnered the highest number of nominations this year, followed by Alexander Payne's dramedy. With a total of seven nominations, "12 Years a Slave" has a slight lead over the much less publicized "Nebraska." After winning the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, the historical drama is in the running for the Spirit Awards for Best Director, Best Male Lead, Best Supporting Female and Male, Best Screenplay and Best Feature. With six nominations, Alexander Payne's father and son road movie "Nebraska" is also a contender for the highly coveted Best Director and Best Feature awards, while its star Bruce Dern has been nominated for the title of Best Actor. Behind the two front runners, "All Is Lost," "Fruitvale Station" and "Short Term 12" each garnered three nominations, just as many as the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" and Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine."
Berlin's historic Zoo Palast cinema re-opens Thursday after a major renovation to restore the sparkle to the former Cold War-era theatre, once the star-studded cultural boast of the city. The Zoo Palast, which owes its name to a nearby city-centre zoological garden, was built in the mid-1950s out of the ashes of a silent movie theatre. The UFA film production company, a leading maker of German movies between the two world wars, chose the spot near 'Berlin's Champs-Elysees', the Kurfuerstendamm, to open the UFA Palast am Zoo in 1919. But in November 1943 the building was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid and in 1955 its ruins were razed to the ground to make way for the Zoo Palast, with its bold, angular architecture.
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand has racked up more clichés about prostitution than most countries. But in her film "Karaoke Girl", director Visra Vichit-Vadakan goes beyond the typically one-dimensional depictions of the women and lets the social message speak for itself. Born in the United States and raised in Thailand, she uses a part-reality, part-fiction style with a story based on the life of Sa Sittijun, who moved to Bangkok at age 15 and ended up working as a singer and an escort in a karaoke bar. "Karaoke Girl", Vichit-Vadakan's first feature film, won the Emerging International Filmmaker award at Britain's Open City Docs Fest in June, garnering praise for how its dream sequences and dramatized scenes are woven seamlessly with interviews with Sa and her family.
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.