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Posts tagged ‘Judi Dench’

“Twelfth Night” in the Park, Cast of Thousands an Amiable Mess


Productions of Shakespeare’s perennial gem of a comedy “Twelfth Night Or What You Will” boasts a cast of literally hundreds, who seem like thousands. Is it too much of a muchness? Almost. 

Directors Oskar Eustis and Kwame Kwei-Armah have taken what is the Shakespeare-in-the-Park’s most enduring positive, the audience, and put all and sundry onstage in the guises of many, many community groups from the Tri-State. It’s overwhelming and it almost overwhelms the play, but not quite. It’s Shakespeare’s best, just about, and seems to weather every storm that is tossed its way. In this case, crowds upon crowds of extras, some of them toddlers, some of them house-wives, all dee-lighted to be onstage at the Delacorte instead of just watching, lining up for hours for tickets and clapping madly.Who can resist a cast that also resolutely SIGNS the play, too? The most beautiful, transcendant moment for me was when an unnamed young, bearded, blonde man, got up and singly signed one of Shakespeare’s more poignant song poems. I wish he was given credit for that in the program. 

Also, because it was virtually the only quiet, thoughtful moment in this amiable, crazy-house of a mess.

There was no intermission. It was only 90 mins. and Shaina Taub’s average music did not send me. It made me long for the first time I saw “Twelfth Night” which was in an historic, traditional production at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1969, when I was in college in the Cotswolds, and young Judi Dench played Viola.

“How will this fadge?” I remember her saying til this day, enunciating Viola’s gender confusion. She’s disguised-as-a-boy Cesario, who everyone is falling in love with. Sir Donald Sindon was the wronged Malvolio, and his performance is awfully close to the present Park’s Malvolio, Andrew Kober, who is the only one of the vast ensemble to capture Shakespeare’s tone of comic absurdity just right.

I also enjoyed Nanya-Akuki Goodrich as an amply-figured Olivia, who is so distraught over her beloved brother’s recent death, she is followed around by a New Orleans jazz band, playing a funeral march every time she enters, black handkerchief in hand, copiously weeping. The tiny little high-heeled shoes that costume designer Andrea Hood has provided her with, ankle straps and all, make her teeter-totter between hilarity, despair, love and high fashion.

And Nikki M. James, a past Tony winner for “Book of Mormon” is quite fine as the business-suited Viola/Cesario. She’s not Judi Dench, but she’s owns the character in her own charming, petite way.Twelfth Night Park 5

 

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Dame Judi Dench to Play Queen Victoria ~ AGAIN!

Judi Dench as Elizaberth 1This is very exciting news! Academy Award Winner Dame Judi Dench is set to play Britain’s Queen Victoria in a new film produced by Focus Features, directed by Oscar Nominee Stephen Frears. It’s called “Victoria and Abdul.”This is the news from Kristin Carag, the publicist of the film, who just sent me this exciting press release. I thought I’d print all of it for you.

Judi won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth 1(pictured above) in “Shakespeare in Love.” And the last time she played Queen Victoria in “Mrs. Brown”, she got Oscar nominated, but didn’t win. I think in all she’s received something like six nominations as detailed below.

Like Audra McDonald with the Tonys, and Meryl Streep with the Oscars, every time she does something of this magnitude, she gets a nomniation. Sasha Stone has a saying “Never underestimate Judi Dench.”Judi Dench in Mrs. Brown 1

DAME JUDI DENCH TO STAR FOR DIRECTOR STEPHEN FREARS

IN VICTORIA AND ABDUL

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

LONDON, June 17th, 2016 – Academy Award winner Judi Dench will star as Queen Victoria and Academy Award nominee Stephen Frears (The Queen) will direct Working Title Films’ Victoria and Abdul, to which Focus Features will hold worldwide rights as part of the company’s renewed global initiative. The movie is slated to go into production this year for a 2017 release. Focus will release the movie domestically and Universal Pictures International will distribute the film around the world. Victoria and Abdul is being co-financed by Focus in association with BBC Films.

 

The screenplay of Victoria and Abdul is by Lee Hall, an Academy Award nominee and Tony Award winner for Working Title’s Billy Elliot; and is based on Shrabani Basu’s book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant.

 

Victoria and Abdul was developed by Beeban Kidron and Lee Hall at Cross Street Films with BBC Films, and is being produced by Ms. Kidron, Academy Award nominee Tracey Seaward (The Queen), and Working Title’s co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. Mr. Bevan and Mr. Fellner have produced several Working Title movies for Focus release, including the Best Picture Oscar nominees Atonement and The Theory of Everything.

 

The film tells the extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria’s remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim, a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favor with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity.

 

Ms. Dench will be playing Queen Victoria for a second time in Victoria and Abdul, having been Oscar-nominated for her previous portrayal in Mrs. Brown. She won her Academy Award for portraying Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love; and later received Best Actress Oscar nominations for her performances in Mr. Frears’ Philomena, also a Best Picture Oscar nominee, and Mrs. Henderson Presents.

 

Victoria and Abdul reunites Working Title with Ms. Kidron, Mr. Frears, and Mr. Hall. Working Title has made five previous projects with Mr. Frears; and has made multiple films with Ms. Kidron and Mr. Hall, including Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and the global hit Billy Elliot, respectively.

 

Christine Langan, head of BBC Films and executive producer of Victoria and Abdul, said, “BBC Films is delighted to have supported Lee Hall’s terrific script and extremely excited to be back in business with the winning combination that is Stephen Frears and Judi Dench.”

 

Focus chairman Peter Kujawski commented, “It is a true privilege to collaborate with the great Stephen Frears and the legendary Judi Dench to tell this story of discovery, and it is always an event when Tim and Eric make a film that promises to move and delight audiences around the world.”

 

Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner have been co-chairs of Working Title Films, one of the world’s leading film production companies, since 1992. Working Title has made more than 100 films that have grossed over $6 billion worldwide. Its films have won 12 Academy Awards (for Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables and The Danish Girl; James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything; Tim Robbins’ Dead Man Walking; Joel and Ethan Coen’s Fargo; Shekhar Kapur’sElizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age; and Joe Wright’s Atonement and Anna Karenina), 39 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, and prizes at the Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals.

 

Mr. Bevan and Mr. Fellner have been honored with the Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures, the PGA’s highest honor for motion picture producers. They have been accorded two of the highest film awards given to British filmmakers: the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award at the BAFTA Awards, and the Alexander Walker Film Award at the Evening Standard British Film Awards.  They have also both been honored with CBEs (Commanders of the Order of the British Empire).

 

The company’s commercial and critical hits include The Interpreter, About a Boy, Notting Hill, Elizabeth, Fargo,Dead Man Walking, Bean, High Fidelity, Johnny English, Billy Elliot, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Love Actually, Shaun of the Dead, Pride & Prejudice, Nanny McPhee, United 93, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Hot Fuzz, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Burn After Reading,Frost/Nixon, Atonement, Senna, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Anna Karenina, Les Misérables, I Give It A Year, About Time, Rush, The Two Faces of January, Trash, The Theory of Everything, Legend, Everest, The Programme, The Danish Girl, Grimsby, and Hail, Caesar!

 

Working Title’s upcoming slate includes Bridget Jones’s Baby, directed by Sharon Maguire and starring Renée Zellwegger, Colin Firth, and Patrick Dempsey; The Snowman, directed by Tomas Alfredson and starring Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, and Val Kilmer; and Baby Driver, directed by Edgar Wright and starring Lily James, Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx.

 

Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) acquires and produces specialty films for the global market, and holds a library of iconic movies from fearless filmmakers. In addition to Victoria and Abdul, upcoming domestic releases from Focus include Kubo and the Two Strings, the new family event movie from animation studio LAIKA, directed by Travis Knight with a voice cast that includes Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, and Matthew McConaughey; Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry, starring Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, and Jacob Tremblay; Tom Ford’s drama Nocturnal Animals, starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal; the real-life story of heroism The Zookeeper’s Wife, directed by Niki Caro and starring Jessica Chastain; the action spy thriller The

Coldest City, directed by David Leitch and starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy; J.A. Bayona’s visually spectacular drama A Monster Calls, starring Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson; and Jeff Nichols’ Loving, based on the love story of Richard and Mildred Loving, portrayed by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, which world-premiered at the 2016 Cannes International Film Festival.

 

Focus Features and Universal Pictures International are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

#        Judi Dench                                                                    #      Dame Judi Dench #Shakespeare in Love, #Oscar, #Queen Victoria, #Victoria and Abdul, #Focus Features                                                                #

 

 

Contacts:             Adriene Bowles/FOCUS FEATURES                          Cathy Dunkley

adriene.bowles@focusfeatures.com                                      cathy.dunkley@freuds.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kirstin Carag

Director of Digital PR

Focus Features

1540 Second Street, Suite 200

Santa Monica, CA 90401

424-832-5573

 

 

 

Video

Oscar Nominees! Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Philomena”!

Here’s the uber-talented Steve Coogan, who I just spoke to not three weeks ago, nominated this morning for “Philomena” for Best Picture (he’s one of the producers) and also Best Adapted Screenplay (with Jeff Pope), bright and early Oscar morning via Satellite from Hollywood.

Editing ~ Kevin Teller

Oscar Shocker! PGA nominates no Weinstein films nor “Llewyn Davis”!!!

Color me shocked! The PGA, probably the most powerful Hollywood Guild these days, in terms of being an Oscar precursor nominated ten films but NONE of them from the Weinstein Co. Harvey’s head must be exploding this morning. No “Philomena”, no “Butler”, no “Long Walk to Freedom”, no “August:Osage County.” Also no “Inside Llewyn Davis” which really bums me out, having just seen it again last night and found it exhilarating.

This means none of those films will be nominated for Best Picture, most likely. But Harvey being Harvey won’t allow this situation to remain status quo. Watch “Philomena” his strongest film kicks out “Her” my guess. And for all the possible acting nominees from all these films, this is not good news either. Forest Whitaker, Oprah,Idris Elba, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, but probably not the great Judi Dench are all now officially on the ropes, vulnerable.

Harvey will just work harder. Which is what he does best. I can’t remember him having such a bunch o’ bad news.But nothing stops him. NOTHING. ONE of his films will get into the Academy’s top ten.

And “Llewyn”s being left out makes me very sad…

Below are the ten nominees. Thankfully “12 Years a Slave” is right where it should be. But surprisingly they nominated “The Wolf of Wall Street”!!! And the disliked “Saving Mr. Banks”!!! The power of Disney…And the super tech-y “Her” which I didn’t think would be to their taste. The Director’s Guild nominations are coming up too on Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Thanks to http://www.hitfix.com for this list ~~~And check out Kris Tapley’s EXCELLENT analysis on what all this means. Can’t wait for him and Anne Thompson to do their Oscar Talk podcast, but I’m guessing they’ll wait until after the DGA on Tuesday and BAFTA on Thursday. They’ll have one up next Friday I bet.

Kris, who like myself, is a big “Llewyn”/Oscar Isaac fan (as are Sasha Stone http://www.awardsdaily.com and Jeff Wells at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com) thinks there’s still hope for ILD with a lot of Coen Bros. fans in the Academy. If they nominated the less relatable “A Serious Man”, they’ll nominate “Llewyn Davis.”

Here’s the list below~

“American Hustle (Columbia Pictures)
Producers: Megan Ellison, Jon Gordon, Charles Roven, Richard Suckle

Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

Captain Phillips (Columbia Pictures)
Producers: Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Scott Rudin

Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)
Producers: Robbie Brenner, Rachel Winter

Gravity (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman

Her (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producers: Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, Vincent Landay

Nebraska (Paramount Pictures)
Producers: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa

Saving Mr. Banks (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Producers: Ian Collie, Alison Owen, Philip Steuer

12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers:  Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt & Dede Gardner

“The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount Pictures)
Producers: Riza Aziz, Emma Koskoff, Joey McFarland

 

Golden Globes Shockers! No OPRAH! No Forest Whittaker! No “August:Osage”! No “Mr.Banks”!

Well, color me shocked, but this mornings Golden Globe nominations contains more shocking snubs than even the SAG Award nominations did yesterday!

NO OPRAH WINFREY! For Supporting Actress for “The Butler”! No Forest Whitaker for “The Butler”! In fact, NOthing for “The Butler”! At All! And Harvey Weinstein has another morning shocker on his plate this morning! No “August:Osage County” nomination for Best Picture -Comedy of Musical! However, Meryl Streep did turn up in Best Actress:Comedy or Musical and Julia Roberts was simply nominated for Best Supporting Actress, as she was yesterday for “August:Osage County!”

That pretty much seals the deal for Roberts in that category, which is not split into TWO groups, allowing for as many as ten nominees. The other Best Supporting Actresses were, as expected, Lupita Nyong’O for “12 Years a Slave”, June Squibb for “Nebraska”, and Jennifer Lawrence for “American Hustle”.Sally Hawkins, the British actress who was truly excellent as Cate Blanchett’s put-upon, plain, working class sister in “Blue Jasmine” is the lady who replaced Oprah. I love Sally Hawkins and I’m happy for her.

But who says “No” to Lady O? The Hollywood Foreign Press Association(HFPA) that’s who!

The biggest winner was “12 Years a Slave” nominated for 7 Globes, Best Picture, Best Director(Steve McQueen), Best Actor Drama- Chiwetal Ejiafor, Best Supporting Actor ~ Michael Fassbender, Best Supporting Actress- Lupita Nyong’0, Best Screenplay and Best Score.

It tied with “American Hustle” with 7 also for Best Picture Comedy or Musical, Best Director (David O. Russell), Best Actor~Comedy or Musical (Christian Bale), Best Actress ~ Comedy or Musical ~ Amy Adams, Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper) and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence).

My upcoming guest Oscar Isaac was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy for his indelible leading role as a doomed folk singer in”Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Llewyn Davis” was also nominated for Best Picture Comedy/Musical. As well as Best Song “Please Mr Kennedy” which Oscar Isaac sang with Justin Timberlake in the Coen Bros. movie. It was not however nominated for either direction or writing.

My recent guest Berenice Bejo’s lovely French film “The Past” was nominated for Best Foreign Film but she was not nominated for her beautiful portrayal of a distracted Parisian housewife.

Bradley Cooper of “American Hustle” replaced yesterday’s posthumous Supporting Actor James Gandolfini for “Enough Said” although Gandolfini’s co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfuss scored as Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical.

The other big surprise was that Tom Hanks was AGAIN nominated for “Capt. Phillips” as Best Actor Drama, but that again, like with yesterday’s SAG awards his Walt Disney was ignored in Supp. Actor. Long shots Barkhad Abdi for Supporting for “Capt. Phillips” and Daniel Bruhl for “Rush” were again included in Supp. Actor. With stalwarts Fassbender and Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club”. The surprise addition was Bradley Cooper for “American Hustle” who was not nominated for SAG.

And oh yes, the biggest Snub-ee of yesterday’s Screen Actor’s Guild Awards Robert Redford is back in it again as Best Actor Drama for “All is Lost”.

Complete list below (thx to http://www.Awardsdaily.com)

Here’s the complete list !

Best Picture, Drama
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Philomena
Rush

Best Picture, Comedy
American Hustle
Her
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Wolf of Wall Street

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett
Sandra Bullock
Judi Dench
Emma Thompson
Kate Winslet

Best Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Idris Elba
Tom Hanks
Matthew McConaghey
Robert Redford

Best Actor Comedy
Christian Bale
Bruce Dern
Leonardo DiCaprio
Oscar Isaac
Joaquin Phoenix

Best Actress Comedy
Amy Adams
Julie Delpy
Greta Gerwig
Julia Louis Dreyfuss
Meryl Streep

Best Sup Actor
Barkhad Abdi
Daniel Bruhl
Bradley Cooper
Michael Fassbender
Jared Leto

Best Sup Actress
Sally Hawkins
Jennifer Lawrence
Lupita Nyong’o
Julia Roberts
June Squibb

Best Score
All is Lost
Mandela
Gravity,
Book Thief
12 Years a Slave

Best Original Song:
Atlas (Hunger Games)
Let it Go (Frozen)
Ordinary Love (Mandela)
Please Mr. Kennedy (Inside Llewyn Davis)
Sweeter Fiction (One Chance)

Best Screenplay
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle

Best Foreign Language Film
Blue is the Warmest
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past
The Wind Rises

Best Animated Feature:
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Frozen

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Oscar Nomination Voting Closes! They BETTER nominate Samuel L.Jackson! Supp. Actor Predix!

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