Julia Sawalha: ‘I was dropped from Chicken Run for sounding too old’

Julia Sawalha is “devastated” after being dropped from the Chicken Run sequel for allegedly sounding too old.The 51-year-old actress has hit out at the decision to recast her role as Ginger in the upcoming stop-motion sequel Chicken Run 2, insistin…

Julia Sawalha is “devastated” after being dropped from the Chicken Run sequel for allegedly sounding too old.

The 51-year-old actress has hit out at the decision to recast her role as Ginger in the upcoming stop-motion sequel Chicken Run 2, insisting she is the victim of ageism.

Julia took to Twitter to reveal that Aardman Animations producers told her agent they would be using a younger actress for her character and she wouldn’t be invited for a voice test.

“Let’s be frank, I feel I have been unfairly dismissed,” she fumed. “To say I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally powerless, something in all of this doesn’t quite ring true. I trust my instincts and they are waving a red flag.”

The Absolutely Fabulous star said she decided to record her voice and post it online to see how she sounded, and it was subsequently sent to Aardman Animations.

However, she said they told her: “Some of the voices (not yours, I agree) definitely sound older,” but then went on to say, “We will be going ahead to re-cast the voice of Ginger.”

Chicken Run 2 will continue to focus on the original characters Rocky and Ginger, who are now living with their little chick Molly on an island sanctuary free from humans.

Mel Gibson previously voiced hero Rocky, but it has also been confirmed he won’t be returning for the sequel, with Julia alleging that her 64-year-old former co-star has also been the victim of ageism.

© Cover Media

Mel Gibson’s role in Chicken Run sequel will be recast – report

Mel Gibson’s role in the Chicken Run sequel will reportedly be recast.It was announced on Tuesday that a follow-up to the hit Aardman Animation Studios movie was in the works, with production set to begin next year. But Gibson, who voiced the heroic ch…

Mel Gibson’s role in the Chicken Run sequel will reportedly be recast.

It was announced on Tuesday that a follow-up to the hit Aardman Animation Studios movie was in the works, with production set to begin next year.

But Gibson, who voiced the heroic chicken Rocky in the 2000 film, is not expected to be asked back to reprise his role, according to the The Wrap.

A source told the outlet that while it’s too early to know if many of the original cast members, such as Julia Sawalha, Phil Daniels, Imelda Staunton and Timothy Spall, will be returning for the sequel, the controversial 64-year-old won’t be coming back.

The follow-up film will reportedly focus on Ginger, voiced in the original by Sawalha, who is living on a peaceful human-free island with Rocky and their daughter, a little chick called Molly. However, they need to return to the mainland to rescue their friends from a new and terrible threat.

Sam Fell, who helmed previous stop-motion movies including Flushed Away and ParaNorman, will direct the Chicken Run sequel, from a script written by Karey Kirkpatrick, John O’ Farrell and Rachel Tunnard.

Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park will have a consulting role in the film, The Wrap reports.

Chicken Run, which followed a group of imprisoned chickens as they tried to escape a farm, is widely credited for helping create the category of Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars.

© Cover Media

Chicken Run sequel heading to Netflix

A long-awaited sequel to Chicken Run is heading to Netflix.On the 20th anniversary of the release of the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time, Aardman Animation Studios confirmed it will produce a follow-up to the movie with the strea…

A long-awaited sequel to Chicken Run is heading to Netflix.

On the 20th anniversary of the release of the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time, Aardman Animation Studios confirmed it will produce a follow-up to the movie with the streaming service.

Chicken Run, which featured the vocal talents of Mel Gibson, Miranda Richardson and Julia Sawalha, followed a group of imprisoned chickens as they tried to escape a farm, and is credited for helping create the category of Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars.

Peter Lord, who directed the original with animator Nick Park, announced the news during a live-streamed panel for the 2020 Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

“We’ve discussed it so many times over the years and come up with various ideas but never quite found one we loved enough. But it was always in the back of our minds,” he explained.

“We’ve got the perfect story, and the relationship with Netflix is kind of perfect as well because they celebrate the filmmaker and are so filmmaker friendly,” Lord added. “I feel now we can make the ‘Chicken Run’ sequel we want to, the one we really care about.”

Filmmaker Sam Fell, who is attached to direct the project, said the sequel would focus on the chickens facing a new threat in their human-free utopia.

Netflix also confirmed the exciting news in a post on Twitter.

“POULTRY NEWS: Exactly 20 years to the day since the original was released, we can confirm there will be a Chicken Run sequel coming to Netflix!! Produced by @aardman, production is expected to begin next year. Eggsellent,” the post read.

The movie announcement coincides with the news that Studiocanal and Pathe have closed a deal with Aardman to allow the transfer of the sequel rights to Netflix.

Production on the sequel is set to begin next year.

© Cover Media

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy regret Mad Max: Fury Road feud

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy have finally opened up about their feud on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road.It was reported that the co-stars were at loggerheads during the making of the 2015 post-apocalyptic action movie, which also starred Nicholas Hoult,…

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy have finally opened up about their feud on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road.

It was reported that the co-stars were at loggerheads during the making of the 2015 post-apocalyptic action movie, which also starred Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Zoe Kravitz.

Now, five years after its release, Theron and Hardy have discussed the challenges of making director George Miller’s critically-acclaimed film in The New York Times.

And the 44-year-old Oscar winner blamed production delays and confusion over the ambitious project for butting heads with her co-star and confessed she was also fearful of Miller’s unusual script and style of filmmaking.

“The biggest thing that was driving that entire production was fear. I was incredibly scared because I’d never done anything like it. I think the hardest thing between me and George is that he had the movie in his head and I was so desperate to understand it,” Theron explained, noting that it subsequently impacted her relationship with Hardy.

“I think because of my own fear, we were putting up walls to protect ourselves instead of saying to each other, ‘This is scary for you and it’s scary for me, too. Let’s be nice to each other,'” she added.

In the movie, the British actor portrayed Max Rockatansky, a role previously made famous by Mel Gibson, and Theron admitted it was a huge character to take on.

“In retrospect, I didn’t have enough empathy to really, truly understand what he must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson’s shoes,” she shared.

Hardy agreed with his co-star’s description of the high stakes atmosphere on set, and said in retrospect, he was “in over my head”.

“The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times,” he stated. “What (Theron) needed was a better, perhaps more experienced, partner in me. That’s something that can’t be faked. I’d like to think that now that I’m older and uglier, I could rise to that occasion.”

Hardy also revealed there are plans for him to star in another two Mad Max films.

© Cover Media

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover ‘ready to go’ on Lethal Weapon 5

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are in talks to make a fifth Lethal Weapon film.During a recent interview for The Hollywood Reporter’s Producers Roundtable, producer Dan Lin confirmed that he and director Richard Donner are close to bringing Gibson and Glo…

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are in talks to make a fifth Lethal Weapon film.

During a recent interview for The Hollywood Reporter’s Producers Roundtable, producer Dan Lin confirmed that he and director Richard Donner are close to bringing Gibson and Glover’s characters, Detective Martin Riggs and Detective Roger Murtaugh, back to the big screen, 22 years after the release of the last movie.

“We’re trying to make the last Lethal Weapon movie. And Dick Donner’s coming back. The original cast is coming back. And it’s just amazing. The story is very personal to him,” he commented. “Mel and Danny are ready to go, so it’s about the script.”

Donner directed all four films in the franchise, with the first Lethal Weapon released in 1987 and the last instalment of the buddy cop flicks unveiled in 1998.

Gibson previously indicated he’d be up for a return, and during a conversation on U.S. breakfast show Good Morning America in 2017, commented: “You know, I went to see Dan the other night. He was doing a theatre production in L.A. of a play he made great (sic) 17 years ago, he reprised it. I went to see him with Donner… so we got to talking, so yeah, maybe.”

However, Donner shared during a chat on the Maitlin on Movies podcast in early 2018 that he doubted the project would move forward due to legal problems with the franchise’s studio, Warner Bros., noting negotiations with bosses had been “counter-productive”.

© Cover Media

James Brolin: ‘My son is set for life thanks to the Avengers’

Movie veteran James Brolin has applauded his actor son Josh’s business savvy because playing villain Thanos in the last two Avengers movies has set him up for life.The Amityville Horror star gave his son some sage advice at the beginning of his acting …

Movie veteran James Brolin has applauded his actor son Josh’s business savvy because playing villain Thanos in the last two Avengers movies has set him up for life.

The Amityville Horror star gave his son some sage advice at the beginning of his acting career, and now it’s really paying off.

“I told him one thing a long time ago… I did tell him one great thing: ‘Don’t be a leading man, ever. Be a character actor and you’ll work forever…’ so look at him; he takes this movie with Thanos and I go, ‘I didn’t mean that!'” he said during an appearance on Access Daily. “It’s the biggest thing. He doesn’t have to work again. He wasn’t paid upfront and he took a piece of the back (end profits) … I’m so proud of him.”

And Josh is making the most of his newly-acquired fortune, taking a year off to be a dad.

The actor and his wife Kathryn Boyd welcomed daughter Westlyn in November 2018.

“He’s a diaper-ing fool,” the 79-year-old joked. “That’s what the last year has been, literally. I don’t think he’s worked much… I just heard that Mel Gibson and he may go to Australia to do a remake of The Wild Bunch.”

But while James thinks his son made a clever career move by appearing in the Avengers films, he has no idea what happens in the final movie.

“I didn’t understand that movie… I understand the cost and the profit, I don’t understand the story,” he sighed.

© Cover Media

Shia LaBeouf told father a Mel Gibson lie to secure biographical film rights

Shia LaBeouf convinced his father to sign over the rights to his life story for new movie Honey Boy by pretending Mel Gibson would be portraying him onscreen.The Transformers star delves into his complicated relationship with his emotionally abusive fa…

Shia LaBeouf convinced his father to sign over the rights to his life story for new movie Honey Boy by pretending Mel Gibson would be portraying him onscreen.

The Transformers star delves into his complicated relationship with his emotionally abusive father, Jeffrey, for the autobiographical film, which he wrote, but the actor admits he had to trick his dad in order to get his backing to make the project.

“I lied to him and told him that Mel Gibson would be playing him,” Shia recently told U.S. late night host Jimmy Kimmel. “He signed the paperwork, then I got home, I sent him pictures, and I broke it to him. ‘Look, it’s not like that.’ True story.”

Instead of Mel playing Jeffrey, Shia takes on the role himself, portraying a younger version of his father – and his casting didn’t go down too well.

“My dad is a pretty off-colour character. He wasn’t too enthused about me playing him…,” the actor confessed.

Once the movie was completed, Shia set up a special screening for his father, but he has yet to ask Jeffrey for his thoughts on the film.

Instead, the 33-year-old chose to monitor his dad’s reactions via a webcam as Jeffrey watched the movie, and it appears he was really moved by the personal project.

Shia recalled, “I said, ‘Let me just watch you watch it, man,’ and it was really emotional.”

Honey Boy, directed by Alma Har’el, also stars Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges as Shia at different stages in his life.

© Cover Media

Busy Mel Gibson adds a third film to Cannes Film Festival sales slate

Mel Gibson is set to become the talk of the Cannes Film Festival – for all the right reasons. The Braveheart star now has three films packaged up for sales at the annual movie fortnight in the South of France. Fatman and Force of Nature have previous…

Mel Gibson is set to become the talk of the Cannes Film Festival – for all the right reasons.

The Braveheart star now has three films packaged up for sales at the annual movie fortnight in the South of France.

Fatman and Force of Nature have previously been announced, and now he’s lined up to star in the dark comedy Rothchild, opposite Shia LaBeouf.

Stan & Ollie director Jon S. Baird is on board to direct the film, which revolves around New York’s filthy rich. LaBeouf will play an outcast fighting to get hold of his family’s fortune, while Gibson will play the clan’s patriarch, according to Deadline sources, who report the project was developed in 2014 and shelved as one of that year’s top scripts unable to find a studio.

Producer Keith Kjarval says, “Rothchild is a satirical and thrilling ride, and I am elated to be working with a filmmaker like Jon Baird, who not only has an incredible track record of guiding award-winning performances, but is crafting this film to be an action packed cautionary tale on wealth and power.”

Gibson’s other two roles, up for grabs at Cannes, link him to another dark comedy, in which he’ll portray Santa Claus, and a project with husband and wife team Michael Polish and Kate Bosworth.

Polish will direct the actor and Bosworth in the action film, which is scheduled to begin in Puerto Rico this summer (19).

Mel is slated to play a grumpy, retired police officer fighting off thugs during a hurricane evacuation.

© Cover Media

Mel Gibson to play Santa in hitman movie

Mel Gibson is going in a new direction for his next film – playing Santa Claus in dark comedy Fatman.The Braveheart actor and director has been tapped to lead the cast of the upcoming holiday feature, which is one of the many films up for grabs at th…

Mel Gibson is going in a new direction for his next film – playing Santa Claus in dark comedy Fatman.

The Braveheart actor and director has been tapped to lead the cast of the upcoming holiday feature, which is one of the many films up for grabs at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Filming is scheduled to begin early next year (20) in Canada, according to Deadline.

The project revolves around a rowdy Santa attempting to survive a hit put on him by a naughty 12-year-old, unhappy with a lump of coal they received instead of a Christmas present. Brothers Ian and Eshom Nelms will direct from their own script.

“I am excited to be working with the incredibly talented Nelms brothers who have written a unique, highly entertaining script. Mel is the perfect choice as Chris Cringle like we’ve never seen him before. I couldn’t be more thrilled to watch this darkly comedic Christmas film come to life,” said producer Nadine de Barros.

Double Oscar winner Gibson is enjoying somewhat of a career resurgence as of late with a handful of films in development, including Every Other Weekend, Black Flies, Waldo, and War Pigs. He is also working on directing the remake of classic western The Wild Bunch, while his The Passion of the Christ sequel, Resurrection, is in pre-production.

He joins a long list of stars who have played versions of Father Christmas, including Tim Allen, Bryan Cranston, Tom Hanks, Richard Attenborough and Leslie Nielsen.

© Cover Media

Mel Gibson not happy with The Professor and the Madman film settlement

Mel Gibson is far from happy with the settlement that ends his legal war with the producers of his film The Professor and the Madman, insisting many of the claims made against him were inaccurate. The case involving Gibson and his director Farhad Safi…

Mel Gibson is far from happy with the settlement that ends his legal war with the producers of his film The Professor and the Madman, insisting many of the claims made against him were inaccurate.

The case involving Gibson and his director Farhad Safinia ended last week (ends05Apr19), but the original Mad Max star is not entirely happy with the outcome.

“As the settlement details are confidential, I will not be commenting but I would like to set the record straight as a number of articles have been released that are factually inaccurate,” the Oscar winner told Deadline on Friday.

“First, neither Farhad Safinia nor I ever walked off of the set, or caused the film to ever go over budget. Second, as partners in Icon Productions, Bruce Davey and I are huge fans of Simon Winchester’s best-selling book, on which the script was based, and worked for 20 years to bring this amazing story to the screen.

“This was a labour of love for the entire creative team, and it is unfortunate for all concerned that this film was never finished as written. I regret that this film will never be seen as it was meant to be. Making it was never about money for Icon, it was about bringing this amazing story to the big screen. Sadly that has not happened in the way it could have. The Voltage version of this film is a bitter disappointment to me.”

A final settlement hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court is scheduled for 15 April (19).

The film, which co-stars Sean Penn, is based on Winchester’s 1998 book The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words.

The settlement came just weeks after a judge dismissed a copyright-infringement complaint filed by Safinia against producers at Voltage.The writer-director claimed ownership of the copyright of the project after revising a 2001 script.

Gibson originally sued Voltage in July 2017, claiming the financing and distribution company had breached their deal by refusing to allow Safinia to complete the film over a dispute about the location shoot – Gibson and his director wanted to film in Oxford, England instead of Trinity College in Dublin.

© Cover Media