Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer to star in sci-fi thriller

Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer have signed on to star in sci-fi thriller Invasion. The Venom actor and recent Emmy nominee will lead the Amazon Studios project, which will be directed by Michael Pearce, who won a BAFTA for his 2017 directorial debut Be…

Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer have signed on to star in sci-fi thriller Invasion.

The Venom actor and recent Emmy nominee will lead the Amazon Studios project, which will be directed by Michael Pearce, who won a BAFTA for his 2017 directorial debut Beast.

According to Deadline, Invasion, written by Pearce and Joe Barton, will follow two young brothers who go on the run with their father, a decorated Marine to be played by Ahmed, who is trying to protect them from an unhuman threat. As the journey takes them in increasingly dangerous and unexpected directions, the boys will need to confront hard truths and leave their childhood behind.

The project is being produced by Dimitri Doganis, Piers Vellacott, and Derrin Schlesinger from production banner Raw, as well as Daniel Battsek, Ollie Madden and Julia Oh from Film4, and Kate Churchill and Jenny Hinkey. It is planned to begin shooting in the U.S. later this year.

The British actor/rapper, best known for TV miniseries The Night Of, will soon be seen in Sound of Metal, in which he plays a heavy metal drummer, and Mogul Mowgli, which he co-wrote. Once film productions resume following the coronavirus pandemic, he will star in sci-fi Exit West and as Hamlet in a modern adaptation of the Shakespeare classic.

Oscar winner Spencer, who was nominated for the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy for her role in Self-Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam CJ Walker this week, will next star alongside Anne Hathaway in The Witches, the movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel.

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Viola Davis: ‘I betrayed myself starring in The Help’

Viola Davis feels she betrayed herself by starring in The Help.The star played maid Aibileen Clark in the 2011 drama, which was an adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s book, and focused on racism encountered by black maids in America’s southern states duri…

Viola Davis feels she betrayed herself by starring in The Help.

The star played maid Aibileen Clark in the 2011 drama, which was an adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s book, and focused on racism encountered by black maids in America’s southern states during the 1960s.

Viola has previously expressed her concern over starring in the movie, and in a new interview with Vanity Fair, the Oscar-winning actress confessed she wished she’d never accepted the role in the first place.

While she fondly remembers her time on set with co-stars Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain and Allison Janney, the 54-year-old said The Help was “created in the filter and the cesspool of systemic racism”.

“I cannot tell you the love I have for these women, and the love they have for me. But with any movie – are people ready for the truth?” she asked, noting that while the movie is loved by millions, she still has big issues with the storyline.

“There’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself, and my people, because I was in a movie that wasn’t ready to (tell the whole truth),” she said, adding that The Help catered to the “white audience”.

“Not a lot of narratives are also invested in our humanity,” the Fences star explained. “They’re invested in the idea of what it means to be Black, but… it’s catering to the white audience.”

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Bryce Dallas Howard wouldn’t accept The Help role if offered it today

Bryce Dallas Howard wouldn’t accept a role in The Help if the film was offered to her today.The 2011 movie, which also starred Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Stone, was based on Kathryn Stockett’s book, and focused on racism encountered by blac…

Bryce Dallas Howard wouldn’t accept a role in The Help if the film was offered to her today.

The 2011 movie, which also starred Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Stone, was based on Kathryn Stockett’s book, and focused on racism encountered by black maids in America’s southern states during the 1960s.

Bryce played the spoiled and selfish Hilly Holbrook in the film, and while she is “grateful” to have landed the role early on in her Hollywood career, she wouldn’t sign on for the project now.

The 39-year-old told The Los Angeles Times that because the movie, directed and adapted by white filmmaker Tate Taylor, was “created by predominantly white storytellers”, she felt it was time for audiences to look for projects featuring black storytellers.

“Right now, in this time, stories are going to play a crucial role in our ability to empathise and to be inspired into action, and the storytellers who we must listen to right now and look to and learn from,” Bryce explained. “There’s an extraordinary body of work that centres on black characters from black creators.”

When asked if she’d play Hilly if offered the part today, she replied: “No.”

Earlier this month, the actress addressed the news that The Help has become the most-watched film on Netflix due to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests across the world, and urged her followers to watch other films that focus on the struggles of the African-American community.

“The Help is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers. We can all go further,” she posted on Instagram, and suggested her fans check out films such as Malcolm X, Selma, and Just Mercy instead.

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Bryce Dallas Howard suggests alternatives to The Help in support of Black Lives Matter movement

The Help star Bryce Dallas Howard has written a list of recommendations of “more appropriate” films for people to watch in order to educate themselves on racial inequality. The 2011 drama, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, and Howard, …

The Help star Bryce Dallas Howard has written a list of recommendations of “more appropriate” films for people to watch in order to educate themselves on racial inequality.

The 2011 drama, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, and Howard, focuses on two black maids who have their racist experiences documented in a book by a white aspiring journalist, played by Stone. Despite its success at the time, the movie has since been denounced for focusing on the ‘white saviour’ narrative and sidelining the black characters.

Last week, The Help was added to Netflix and went straight to the top of the streaming service’s movie chart, but as the addition coincided with the widespread Black Lives Matter protests over the death of unarmed African-American George Floyd, film critics later took to Twitter to suggest viewers watch alternative movies if they wanted to be educated on racial injustice and inequality.

Howard joined in on Sunday night by sharing a collage of films and TV shows that she would recommend instead of The Help.

“I’ve heard that #TheHelp is the most viewed film on @netflix right now!” she wrote in the caption. “I’m so grateful for the exquisite friendships that came from that film — our bond is something I treasure deeply and will last a lifetime. This being said, The Help is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers. We can all go further.

“Stories are a gateway to radical empathy and the greatest ones are catalysts for action. If you are seeking ways to learn about the Civil Rights Movement, lynchings, segregation, Jim Crow, and all the ways in which those have an impact on us today, here are a handful of powerful, essential, masterful films and shows that center Black lives, stories, creators, and / or performers.”

Howard went on to list Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th, film Selma, and TV miniseries When They See Us, as well as the films Just Mercy, Malcolm X, and I Am Not Your Negro.

Her co-star Davis previously voiced regrets about starring in The Help, and told The New York Times in 2018: “I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard.”

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Film critics speak out as The Help reaches number one on Netflix

Film critics have urged audiences to watch better “black films” in response to The Help becoming the most-watched movie on Netflix.The 2011 drama, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone, is set during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 and…

Film critics have urged audiences to watch better “black films” in response to The Help becoming the most-watched movie on Netflix.

The 2011 drama, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone, is set during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 and focuses on two black maids who have their racist experiences documented in a book by a white aspiring journalist. Despite its success at the time, the movie has since been denounced for focusing on the ‘white saviour’ narrative and sidelining the black characters.

The Help was added to the streaming service this week and went straight to the top of the movie chart. Its popularity on Netflix coincides with widespread Black Lives Matter protests over the death of unarmed African-American George Floyd, and critics and journalists responded to The Help’s chart position by urging people to watch other documentaries and films about racial injustice and inequality instead.

“I’m so sorry but the last thing folx (folks) need to be watching are bootleg ‘racial reconciliation’ movies like ‘The Help,'” film critic Rebecca Theodore-Vachon wrote. “If you need a list of Black films, Black film critics are on here happy to suggest some really good ones.”

“Do not watch the f**king ‘Help’ right now…literally anything but ‘The Help,'” Ashly Perez posted, before suggesting viewers watch Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th, as well as her movie Selma, and the filmmaker’s four-part miniseries When They See Us.

The Help was a box office hit, grossing more than $216 million (£171 million) worldwide, and Spencer landed a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as maid Minny.

However, her co-star Davis previously confessed she regrets starring in the movie as she was disappointed with the focus of the film.

“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” the Oscar winner told The New York Times in 2018. “I never heard that in the course of the movie.”

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Robert Zemeckis in talks to direct Pinocchio remake

Robert Zemeckis is in talks to direct Disney’s live-action remake of Pinocchio. Skyfall director Sam Mendes was originally tapped to helm the live-action remake of the 1940 animated classic but he exited the project in 2017 and was replaced by Paddingt…

Robert Zemeckis is in talks to direct Disney’s live-action remake of Pinocchio.

Skyfall director Sam Mendes was originally tapped to helm the live-action remake of the 1940 animated classic but he exited the project in 2017 and was replaced by Paddington’s Paul King, who subsequently stepped down from the role for unknown reasons at the start of this year.

However, according to Variety, Forrest Gump director Zemeckis is now in early talks to direct Pinocchio, which tells the tale of a living puppet who, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.

Zemeckis, who was also behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the Back to the Future films, has reportedly been eyeing the project since the summer but didn’t want to commit until he had made more progress with his movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, which stars Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer.

The 67-year-old began to set his sights on his next project when that went into the post-production phase.

According to editors at Variety, the director will now be looking to find an actor to play Geppetto, Pinocchio’s carpenter creator. Zemeckis’s frequent collaborator Tom Hanks had been circling the role but eventually passed.

Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz are producing through their company Depth of Field from a script penned by Weitz. The most recent draft of the screenplay had been written by Weitz, King, and Paddington 2 screenwriter Simon Farnaby. Paddington producer David Heyman is no longer involved with the film.

The live-action movie is not the only Pinocchio project in the works – Guillermo del Toro has teamed up with Netflix bosses to create a stop-motion animation based on Carlo Collodi’s classic tale.

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Naomi Watts jumped at chance to work with Octavia Spencer again in thriller Luce

Naomi Watts couldn’t bear to miss her chance to team with Octavia Spencer again in new psychological thriller Luce. The actress previously appeared alongside Oscar-winner Octavia in two films in the Divergent franchise, and she loved working with her …

Naomi Watts couldn’t bear to miss her chance to team with Octavia Spencer again in new psychological thriller Luce.

The actress previously appeared alongside Oscar-winner Octavia in two films in the Divergent franchise, and she loved working with her so much, she was an immediate “yes” for director Julius Onah’s new project, even before she read the script.

“In the summer two years ago, I got sent the script and I was told that Octavia was attached to it,” Naomi recalled to Entertainment Weekly. “Already it was clear that it was going to be read by me by the end of the day, just because it was her.

“I had already worked with her before – on that Divergent (film) series – and I had such a great experience with her. And also the projects that she picks, it’s such an endorsement that comes with that. With her name attached, it made me read it right away, and the minute I started turning those pages, I felt like it was really rich, dynamic material. It really just got under my skin.”

Naomi is convinced fans will be blown away by all the stand-out performances in the critically acclaimed new film, which also stars Tim Roth and newcomer Kelvin Harrison Jr.

“Kelvin is such a discovery in this movie,” the actress gushed. “So much of it was about presentation, how he believes he needs to present himself. He had a tricky role, and if we couldn’t stick with him, the whole story doesn’t work.

“He had a really hard job, and he handled it in an impressive way. I was quite blown away by him.”

Luce reaches theatres on Friday.

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Octavia Spencer championed Diana Silvers for Ma role

Diana Silvers will be eternally grateful to Octavia Spencer for championing her for a role in Ma.The actress is quickly becoming one to watch in Hollywood, having taken on the part of Hope in 2019 coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, and as Maggie opposite …

Diana Silvers will be eternally grateful to Octavia Spencer for championing her for a role in Ma.

The actress is quickly becoming one to watch in Hollywood, having taken on the part of Hope in 2019 coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, and as Maggie opposite Octavia in Tate Taylor’s new horror film. Now, Diana has credited the Oscar-winning actress with helping her to win over producers and shared that she gets a little emotional whenever she thinks about the situation.

“At the (Ma) premiere party, I walked up to Octavia and was like, ‘You have no idea how grateful I am that you gave me this opportunity, and that you fought (on my behalf),’” she recalled in an interview with Refinery29. “She kept saying, ‘You earned it.’ But she took a chance on someone who had not done anything before. She’s someone I admire and respect, and I hope that one day I do that for someone else if I’m in that position.”

Diana briefly studied at New York University, but after a family emergency, was forced to return home to California. And she is amazed at the series of events that have led to her pursuing an acting career full time.

“The universe really just worked itself out in a very twisted strange way. I know I wouldn’t have made the callback for Ma if my father’s house had not burned down because I would have been in finals. My teachers would not have been chill with me leaving in the middle of my Medieval Magic final,” the 21-year-old smiled.

Diana is next set to appear in Tate’s next film, Eve, which also stars Jessica Chastain, Geena Davis, and John Malkovich.

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Octavia Spencer to join Anne Hathaway in The Witches remake

Octavia Spencer is in talks to join Anne Hathaway in the latest movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel The Witches. In January (19), it was reported that The Princess Diaries actress had been cast as the Grand High Witch in Robert Zemeckis’ new film v…

Octavia Spencer is in talks to join Anne Hathaway in the latest movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel The Witches.

In January (19), it was reported that The Princess Diaries actress had been cast as the Grand High Witch in Robert Zemeckis’ new film version of Dahl’s 1983 children’s tale about a seven-year-old boy who stumbles upon a coven of child-hating witches.

Now Hathaway looks set to be joined by The Shape of Water actress Spencer, who will play the boy’s grandmother.

Variety also reports that newcomer Jahzir Bruno will play the lead child while Holmes & Watson’s Codie-Lei Eastick will play another boy who has a run-in with the coven.

The book was previously adapted for the screen by director Nicolas Roeg in 1990 with Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch, but this remake is thought to be more loyal to the original source material.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Shape of Water moviemaker Guillermo del Toro had long been attached to helm the project but he will now produce alongside fellow Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron. Del Toro wrote an early draft of the script but a new version is being penned by Zemeckis, who has taken over directing duties, and Black-ish creator Kenya Barris.

The Back to the Future and Forrest Gump filmmaker and his ImageMovers partner Jack Rapke will also produce the movie, which is scheduled to hit cinemas in October 2020.

Spencer, who is currently on the awards circuit as a producer of Green Book, has many projects in the pipeline. She can currently be seen in the comedy Instant Family and will be venturing into horror with Blumhouse Productions’ summer movie Ma. The Help actress will also be teaming up with her co-star from that film, Jessica Chastain, on a holiday comedy, as well as Bryce Dallas Howard on comedy Fairy Tale Ending.

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Christian Siriano is anti athleisure

Christian Siriano isn’t looking to get into the athleisure market anytime soon, after turning his nose up at the trend.The former Project Runway winner is known for his glamorous evening wear, and is the go-to designer for a whole host of stars durin…

Christian Siriano isn’t looking to get into the athleisure market anytime soon, after turning his nose up at the trend.

The former Project Runway winner is known for his glamorous evening wear, and is the go-to designer for a whole host of stars during awards season.

And he tells HuffPost that he won’t ever venture too far from glitzy gowns.

“I think it kind of defeats the purpose of what I do for a job, which is making chic, glamorous clothing that you want to wear in your life,” he mused.

“It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you’re at the party and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, she’s so overdressed,’ that’s way more fabulous than everyone being like, ‘Oh god, she’s so underdressed and doesn’t look good.’”

So far this awards season, the New York based designer has dressed Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney, Connie Britton and Judith Light for the Golden Globes. He also outfitted Judith for the Critics’ Choice Awards.

And he’s proud that women of all ages and sizes come to him to find their perfect dress.

“Our philosophy is to celebrate women, celebrate beauty, celebrate everyone,” stated the 33-year-old. “When we’re doing red carpet, we don’t even think so much about ‘This is the mission, we have to dress these people.’ It’s just like, if they come to us, or if a stylist wants to work with us, I get excited.

“It’s nice to see that at the Golden Globes we can have such a range of age and size, and they all look beautiful. I think that’s what it’s all about.”

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