J.J. Abrams stunned by ‘weirdly miraculous’ discovery of unseen Carrie Fisher footage

J.J. Abrams remains stunned by the “weirdly miraculous” discovery of unseen footage featuring Carrie Fisher that enabled her character to appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.The actress reprised her role as Princess Leia when the sci-fi franchis…

J.J. Abrams remains stunned by the “weirdly miraculous” discovery of unseen footage featuring Carrie Fisher that enabled her character to appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The actress reprised her role as Princess Leia when the sci-fi franchise was revived in 2015 with The Force Awakens, which was directed by Abrams, but she passed away before the release of her next outing as Leia in 2017’s The Last Jedi, helmed by Rian Johnson. Abrams, who helmed the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker, didn’t want to conclude the trilogy without Leia or digitally recreate her or recast the role, and was saved by the discovery of old footage from The Force Awakens.

And while the decision to include footage of Carrie after her death divided opinion among some fans, the filmmaker remains stunned that the unused takes featured the screen star saying almost exactly what they needed her to say.

“The reality that we had the material that was actually her saying things that we needed her to say was vaguely, weirdly miraculous,” he said during an interview on the Australian TV show The Project.

However, he admitted that if the actress was still around “we would have done a few different things. We would have added some stuff that would have been great.”

He jokingly added: “And she would be here today which would make the day much more fun.”

During the interview, Richard E. Grant, who plays Allegiant General Pryde, revealed his own doubts over using the old footage.

“To kind of exhume that footage from another movie and if it wasn’t good enough for the other movie, why should it be good enough for the end?” he mused. “All those caveats or anxieties I had about it were completely put to rest when I saw how they’d done it. It is seamless.”

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Richard E. Grant to play drag queen in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie movie adaptation

Richard E. Grant has signed up for the movie adaptation of the hit West End musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.The Oscar-nominated actor will play the role of Hugo and his drag queen alter ego Loco Chanelle, who supports gay 16-year-old schoolboy…

Richard E. Grant has signed up for the movie adaptation of the hit West End musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

The Oscar-nominated actor will play the role of Hugo and his drag queen alter ego Loco Chanelle, who supports gay 16-year-old schoolboy Jamie as he struggles with the prejudice he faces at school and pursues his dream of becoming a drag queen.

According to director Jonathan Butterell, the Can You Ever Forgive Me? star has been preparing for the role by watching reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“It is extraordinary, that vision of Richard,” Butterell told Britain’s The Daily Mail newspaper. “By the time he’s got heels and a wig on he’s about 8 foot tall. I had to go to the art department and ask if the ceiling in his dressing room scenes is high enough.

“Richard’s loving it. It’s something he’s never done before. He has now watched, I think, a thousand million episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race to learn how the kids are doing it, and also studying the story of the drag queens of the late Eighties and Nineties.”

The musical is based on the documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, which followed the story of Jamie Campbell, a British teenager who wasn’t allowed to wear a dress to his high school prom. He defied his teachers, and with the support of his family and friends, he gained the confidence to debut his drag queen persona, Fifi la True, at the bash.

Catastrophe actress and writer Sharon Horgan will portray Jamie’s teacher Miss Hedges, while Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire has signed up to play the teen’s mother, Margaret.

Newcomer Max Harwood, 21, will play the role of Jamie, and the movie is expected to begin filming in Sheffield, England later in June.

Butterell directed the stage musical, which features songs by The Feeling’s Dan Gillespie Sells, when it originally opened in Sheffield in 2017. It transferred to London’s West End later that year and is currently playing at the Apollo Theatre.

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Richard E. Grant: ‘Julianne Moore was fired from Can You Ever Forgive Me? over fat suit comment’

Julianne Moore was fired from Can You Ever Forgive Me? because she wanted to wear a fat suit and fake nose to play late writer Lee Israel, according to Richard E. Grant. Melissa McCarthy finally won the role in the critically-acclaimed film about the …

Julianne Moore was fired from Can You Ever Forgive Me? because she wanted to wear a fat suit and fake nose to play late writer Lee Israel, according to Richard E. Grant.

Melissa McCarthy finally won the role in the critically-acclaimed film about the biographer who turned to forging letters from literary heavyweights to earn a living, but Moore was originally on board until she fell out with co-writer Nicole Holofcener, who was the film’s director at the time.

Oscar winner Julianne recently opened up about the drama during an appearance on talk show Watch What Happens Live, revealing, “Nicole fired me. I think she didn’t like what I was doing.”

Holofcener and Marielle Heller, who took over as director, have refused to address Moore’s departure from the project, and McCarthy has vowed never to talk about it, but Grant, who landed his first Oscar nomination for his role as Jack Hock in the movie, has revealed it was all about The Hours star’s take on Israel.

Speaking at an Advertising Week Europe event in London, the Brit said, “The original cast was going to be directed by Bob Balaban with Helena Bonham Carter and Sam Rockwell playing my part.

“Fast forward 10 years and then it was going to be Julianne Moore and Chris O’Dowd and then Nicole Holofcener, the co-screenwriter, fired Julianne Moore two days before they started shooting over creative differences and then Melissa McCarthy’s husband, who had been in the previous version and still played the same part, gave her the script to read and then she came on board and then I got cast, so it was third time lucky for me, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”

Asked to expand on the “creative differences”, Grant added, “Julianne Moore wanted to wear a fat suit and a false nose to play Lee Israel and Nicole Holofcener said, ‘You’re not going to do that’.”

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Richard E. Grant and Antonio Banderas board The Hitman’s Bodyguard sequel

Richard E. Grant and Antonio Banderas have signed on to appear in The Hitman’s Bodyguard sequel.In November (18), Lionsgate studio executives confirmed that Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek would be reprising their roles from the 2017 a…

Richard E. Grant and Antonio Banderas have signed on to appear in The Hitman’s Bodyguard sequel.

In November (18), Lionsgate studio executives confirmed that Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek would be reprising their roles from the 2017 action-comedy, which followed a top bodyguard tasked with getting one of the world’s most notorious hitmen to the International Criminal Court for a trial.

On Wednesday (13Mar19), it was also announced that Oscar-nominated Can You Ever Forgive Me? actor Grant would be returning in the supporting role of Mr. Seifert, a drug-addicted corporate executive, in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, while Banderas will be taking on an unknown part. It was previously reported that Frank Grillo and Morgan Freeman will co-star too.

Patrick Hughes is back in the director’s chair, and will work from a script penned by Tom O’Connor, who wrote the original. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is set to pick up where the first film left off and will follow the characters as they are enlisted for a secret mission on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The shoot began earlier this month in Europe, with the majority of scenes to be shot in Italy, Croatia and London.

To mark the start of filming, Reynolds recently took to Instagram to share a photo of him on set covered in fake blood while posing next to Jackson and Hayek.

“Two Guys, A Girl and-OH MY GOD WHAT THE F**K? Here we go again… #HitmansWifesBodyguard@salmahayek @samuelljackson,” he captioned the snap, referencing the title of his late ’90s sitcom Two Guys and a Girl.

Jackson and Hayek both posted the same image on their own social media pages, with the Pulp Fiction star writing, “These Two Here!!”

Grant was most recently seen onscreen in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and TV show A Series of Unfortunate Events, and is also in the post-production phase of Star Wars: Episode IX. Meanwhile, Banderas’ upcoming projects include Lamborghini: The Legend, The Laundromat, and The Devil May Care.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is slated to hit cinemas in 2020.

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Julianne Moore: ‘I was fired from Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

Julianne Moore has claimed she fired from the lead role in movie Can You Ever Forgive Me? The Still Alice star was cast as real-life biographer-turned-forger Lee Israel in 2015, but she dropped out of the project days before filming was scheduled to b…

Julianne Moore has claimed she fired from the lead role in movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?

The Still Alice star was cast as real-life biographer-turned-forger Lee Israel in 2015, but she dropped out of the project days before filming was scheduled to begin after clashing with then-director Nicole Holofcener, who co-wrote the script. Melissa McCarthy was then cast as Israel and she went on to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar this year (19) for her performance in the film, which was ultimately directed by Marielle Heller.

Julianne finally opened about what happened when asked why she left the movie during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Thursday (08Mar19).

“I didn’t leave that movie, I was fired. Yeah, Nicole fired me, that’s the truth,” she said. “I think she didn’t like what I was doing. We had just been rehearsing and doing pre-production and stuff and her idea of where the character was, was different than where my idea of where the character was, and so she fired me.”

The Oscar winner admitted that she hadn’t yet seen the movie because what happened is “still kind of painful” but she’s sure Melissa did a great job.

“I love Melissa McCarthy. I worship her. I think she’s fantastic, so I’m sure she’s great. So that’s the story,” she said.

Fellow guest, fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg, said to the actress that the rejection must have been tough, and Julianne replied, “It’s pretty bad… The only other time I was fired was when I was working at a yoghurt stand when I was 15, so it felt bad.”

The film’s producer David Yarnell, a longtime friend of the late Israel, previously told The Hollywood Reporter in January that the “project collapsed” after the situation between Julianne and Nicole “became untenable” and it was so close to production that Fox Searchlight took a financial hit of around $2 million (£1.5 million).

The film opened to critical acclaim last year and went on to be nominated for three Oscars, for Melissa, supporting actor Richard E. Grant, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Nicole and co-writer Jeff Whitty.

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Olivia Colman tearfully accepts BFI Fellowship honour

Olivia Colman became emotional as she accepted the BFI Fellowship honour on Wednesday night (06Mar19). The British star, who took home the Best Actress Oscar in a shock win for The Favourite in February, was presented with the British Film Institute’s…

Olivia Colman became emotional as she accepted the BFI Fellowship honour on Wednesday night (06Mar19).

The British star, who took home the Best Actress Oscar in a shock win for The Favourite in February, was presented with the British Film Institute’s highest honour by her The Favourite and The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos at the Rosewood Hotel in London.

Accepting the prize, she reflected on her “lovely year” and became visibly emotional as she said she didn’t feel worthy of the honour.

“I didn’t know what to expect this evening, turns out it’s like a surprise birthday. It’s amazing, and I keep seeing lovely people that I love,” the 45-year-old shared. “Also, recently I’ve realised how us in front of the camera get far too much love and adoration from people because without the writers and directors we are nothing, so thank you… I don’t feel worthy of this and I’m really very grateful. Thank you so much.”

Presenting the honour, Lanthimos gushed over his collaborator, and stated, “There isn’t an actor who can infuse each moment onscreen with such great humanity, drama and humour. No one can appear so fragile, magnetic, fierce, funny and real from one second to the next, or all at the same time.”

Colman’s The Crown co-stars Helena Bonham Carter and Tobias Menzies attended the event to support the actress, while actors such as Richard E. Grant, David Tennant, Jim Broadbent, Vanessa Redgrave and Tom Hollander, and director Richard Curtis, were among the other stars to make appearances.

The BFI Fellowship is awarded to those who have made a special contribution to television and film. Previous recipients include Bonham Carter, Morgan and Redgrave, as well as Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Cate Blanchett, and Martin Scorsese, among others.

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Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Eighth Grade are surprise winners at WGA Awards

Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Eighth Grade were the surprise winners at the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards on Sunday night (17Feb19). Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty picked up the Best Adapted Screenplay prize for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, a c…

Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Eighth Grade were the surprise winners at the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards on Sunday night (17Feb19).

Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty picked up the Best Adapted Screenplay prize for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, a comedy-drama inspired by the memoir by late biographer-turned-forger Lee Israel, starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. The Oscar-nominated duo beat the writers of Black Panther, A Star is Born and Oscar frontrunners If Beale Could Talk and BlacKkKlansman.

The big shock of the night was Bo Burnham picking up Best Original Screenplay for Eighth Grade over A Quiet Place and Oscar nominees Roma, Vice and Green Book. The surprise win made Eighth Grade the first film to win the WGA Original Screenplay award without being nominated for an Academy Award since Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine in 2003.

Taking to the stage, Burnham, who also directed the film, joked about being the underdog and praised his young actress, Golden Globe nominee Elsie Fisher.

“To the other nominees in the category – Have fun at the Oscars, losers!” he joked. “No, I prepared nothing. This all belongs to Elsie Fisher who performed the script. No one would care about the script if she hadn’t done it.”

Burham previously won the First-Time Feature Film category at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards and the film is up for four Independent Spirit Awards prizes, but has been largely overlooked at the big award ceremonies.

In the TV categories, The Americans landed the Best Drama Series prize and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel picked up the Comedy Series gong, while The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story was named Best Adapted Longform Series, and the Stephen King-inspired thriller Castle Rock scored the Original Longform Series award.

The awards were handed out in bi-coastal ceremonies. The WGA East held its ceremony at the Edison Ballroom in New York, while the WGA West staged its bash at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

The main list of winners is as follows:

Original Screenplay:

Bo Burnham – Eighth Grade

Adapted Screenplay:

Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Documentary Screenplay:

Ozzy Inguanzo and Dava Whisenant – Bathtubs Over Broadway

TV Drama Series:

The Americans

TV Comedy Series:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Best New Series:

Barry

Longform – Original:

Castle Rock

Longform – Adapted:

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Shortform New Media – Original:

Class of Lies

Shortform New Media – Adapted:

The Walking Dead: Red Machete

Animation:

The Simpsons: Bart’s Not Dead

Episodic Drama:

Homeland: Paean to the People

Episodic Comedy:

Barry

Comedy/Variety Talk Series:

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

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Richard E. Grant: ”Too weird to become an actor’

Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant’s acting dreams took a huge knock early on when he was told he looked “too weird” to land regular work. The actor was studying drama at the University of Cape Town in South Africa when one mentor told him to rethink his …

Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant’s acting dreams took a huge knock early on when he was told he looked “too weird” to land regular work.

The actor was studying drama at the University of Cape Town in South Africa when one mentor told him to rethink his career as he wasn’t “cut out” to become an actor.

The 61-year-old Brit, who up for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, told The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, ”He (teacher) said, ‘I don’t think that you really are cut out – or are going to make it as an actor – because you look too weird’.”

Grant admits the critique made him rule out any hope of becoming a movie star: “I thought I was going to spend my whole life doing Chekhov in the theatre. It didn’t really cross my mind that it would be possible to ever be in a movie – that’s what happened overseas or in America or in Hollywood.”

The actor carried that lack of confidence into his break-out film, Withnail and I, after winning the role of alcoholic, out-of-work actor Withnail from Daniel Day Lewis after he turned the job down.

Grant thought he was so awful in the movie, he offered to give director Bruce Robinson his salary.

“When I saw the first showing of Withnail and I before the music had been done I gauged blood out of my wife’s wrist while watching it,” he explained. “I was so distraught at what I saw that I said to Bruce Robinson, ‘I know that I f**ked up your film. Please take my money back because I know I’ll never work again’.

“I was wholly convinced that would be the truth. I’m very grateful that other people didn’t feel the same way.”

The 1987 movie, which also features Paul McGann and the late Richard Griffiths, has become a cult hit.

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Richard E. Grant turned to Gary Oldman for Withnail & I weightloss help

Richard E. Grant turned to Gary Oldman for help when he had to lose weight quickly for his breakout role in cult comedy Withnail & I. The Oscar nominee won the role of brooding alcoholic Withnail in director Bruce Robinson’s 1987 film after Daniel-Day…

Richard E. Grant turned to Gary Oldman for help when he had to lose weight quickly for his breakout role in cult comedy Withnail & I.

The Oscar nominee won the role of brooding alcoholic Withnail in director Bruce Robinson’s 1987 film after Daniel-Day Lewis exited the project and was told to lose 12 pounds in two weeks.

“He (Bruce) was determined that I lose weight: ‘You’re very fat, Grant,’ he said, ‘You’ve gotta lose 12 pounds before we start shooting’,” the actor tells Rolling Stone.

Grant thought it best to call on an expert and asked Oldman how he slimmed down to play skinny punk icon Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy.

“I’d just spent a year in my unemployment trying to put on weight with weight-gain powder,” Grant recalls. “I had just worked with Gary Oldman, so I said, ‘Gary, what do I do to get this weight off?'”

The Can You Ever Forgive Me? star reveals his pal suggested he try some “weight-off powder”, but refused to go into detail about exactly how he managed to perfect his thin, gaunt look for Robinson’s film.

Grant won acclaim for the role but recently admitted he was so convinced Withnail & I would be a huge flop he offered to hand back his salary to the director.

“When I saw the first showing of Withnail & I before the music had been done I gauged blood out of my wife’s wrist while watching it,” he explained. “I was so distraught at what I saw that I said to Bruce Robinson, the writer/director, ‘I know that I f**ked up your film. Please take my money back because I know I’ll never work again’. I was wholly convinced that would be the truth. I’m very grateful that other people didn’t feel the same way.”

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Richard E. Grant: ‘Melissa McCarthy is the best actor I’ve worked with’

Richard E. Grant’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? co-star Melissa McCarthy is his favourite actor to work with.The Brit has bagged several supporting acting nominations, including his first Oscars nod, for his portrayal of grifter Jack Hock in the new biop…

Richard E. Grant’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? co-star Melissa McCarthy is his favourite actor to work with.

The Brit has bagged several supporting acting nominations, including his first Oscars nod, for his portrayal of grifter Jack Hock in the new biopic of writer-turned-forger Lee Israel, played by Melissa.

Despite having worked with stars including Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis, Richard shared that he’s never felt chemistry like he had with Melissa.

“The actor that I have really had the best working experience with is Melissa McCarthy,” he said at a career retrospective at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) headquarters in London.

Production pressures initially meant the two co-stars weren’t due to meet until the first day of shooting, but they managed to get together and instantly hit it off.

“We carved out two hours out of the day and a meal and we met, and I immediately saw at what level she was pitching this part at, and she lowered her voice, and a whole sense of gravity shifted,” the 61-year-old gushed. “We got on within the first five nanoseconds of meeting her. We just got on at such a profound level and that really informed how we made the movie.”

He added that it was “really unusual” for him to form such a close bond with a colleague – as generally, actors are ready to move on when the cameras stop rolling.

Richard went on to say that he was drawn to the film because its story focuses on the ups and downs of friendship, taking a universal theme and applying it to a strange pair of “oddballs”, who schemed to forge famous people’s letters and sell them to collectors as the real thing.

“It just seemed to deal with the A to Z of friendship more than anything else, even though the plot is all about forgery, the core of what the story is, is that,” he explained.

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